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Is the Robot Takeover Hitting a Speedbump?

Robots have been called "the next big thing" in technology  for decades. While that still may be true, the robot revolution could be slower than many expected, and Google's parent is rumored to be selling off one of its robotics divisions.

Brian Buntz

Proponents of robotics still argue that robots will soon transform culture and medical care. It is likely that robots will take on ever-more important roles in fields as diverse as surgery and elder care while also doing a growing number of manufacturing-related tasks.

More critical opinions tend to either suggest that either that the promise of robots is overhyped or that robots pose an outright threat to humanity. The latter idea invokes science-fiction-like scenario similar to the Terminator film plot; AI could one day become so advanced that it either can be programmed to destroy humans, or it simply decides it doesn't care about humans' whims.

Oh, and a considerable number of people--including anesthesiologists--have worried that robots are out for their jobs.

Whatever the case may be, the promise of robotics seems to be currently obscured by technological hurdles.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that Google's parent Alphabet was selling its Boston Dynamics robotics division--a move that would suggest that, for all the potential, it is hard for some robotic technologies to be profitable immediately. The Bloomberg report suggested that it would be years before Boston Dynamics' technology would be profitable--even though the companies land-roving robots have captivated millions via its YouTube videos.

Boston Dynamics recently posted a video (that has gone viral with nearly 16 million views to date) showing off the capabilities of its latest robotics technology, which included footage of a robot that was able to transport a box in a warehouse even though a man with a hockey stick was trying to make it difficult for it to do so:

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at BIOMEDevice Boston, April 13-14, 2016.

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