The Thin Line of Technology and Reality
As any science fiction reader would know, there are a lot of discrepancies between what reality is and what is only in fiction. As science fiction is the branch of literature that delves most into what the future holds for us, science fiction stories serve as an intellectual forecast into the direction our technology is headed. Still, much remains to be accomplished. Many works of fiction predict that we would now be using flying cars and have commercial access to space travel. In fact, research and development into these fields are far from becoming close to reality.
Of the many facets of science fiction, robotics is fast catching up to its fictional hype. From automated war machines deployed in combat to nano-machines made to explore and diagnose human patients, there are a lot of robots in our time. While very few robots today match the humanlike appearance or sophisticated behavior we see in fiction, the robots of reality are nothing to be scoffed at, for it is truly they who help make the impossible things happen.
Application of Robot Technology in Today’s Culture
The best advantage of a robot is more than the fact that it is a robot, but because it is not a human. With that, the consideration of health, safety, well being and other important factors are thrown out the window. While damage to a robot would incur losses financially, it would not mean the loss of life. This is why robots can be made to do many difficult and dangerous tasks that others would not be able to do. Also a robots accuracy and lack of need for food or rest makes it an ideal worker that will not tire no matter how difficult or mind numbing a task may be.
Robots that are present today are most often seen in factories. These robots tend to specialize in one particular part of production. From welding to painting, to lifting and to crushing, robots are able to perform their tasks with accuracy and speed that far surpasses that of human workers. There are also robots that handle other non-industrial applications. There are land surveying robots, and the lunar and Martian probes that are able to access rough terrain and analyze dirt and soil samples.
Pushing the Edge of Technology with Military Application
Still, in today’s times, nothing pushes an economy forward faster then a military objective. Even the field of robotics has been advanced greatly due to the great benefit that robots would give to the military. Many unmanned drones and surveillance devices were developed from research into robotics.
Even the Hybrid Assistive Limb system developed to aid handicapped people use inactive limbs has been adapted into military technology, allowing soldiers to fully utilize their body strength by augmenting the suit to their bodies. Of course, these are just mere adaptations of existing robot technology into products that are not robots. Robots in themselves are far more valuable to the army. Fully automated machines that can find, identify and eliminate a specified target are the holy grail of military robot technology.