The Economist 14-page Special Report: Rise of the Robots—Cool!

02 April 2014

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The Economist, a prestigious London-based business magazine zealously read around the world, has a 14-page Special Report in their current issue. ‘Rise of the Robots’ offers insight into why robotic technology is so fascinating and so prevalent in the media. The reporter, Oliver Morton, a briefings editor for The Economist, traveled around the world and spent months developing information for the report and ended it with the tagline: “They are coming to work and play among us in ever greater numbers.”

One of his trips was to the DARPA Robotics Challenge trials in Florida last year. He places the various devices, inventions and needs in perspective – and for this alone it is worth purchasing the magazine. The report is organized as follows:

  • Immigrants from the future – robots offer a unique insight into what people want from technology. That makes their progress peculiarly fascinating
  • The build-up – after slow beginnings, a big push in robotics now seems imminent
  • Military uses – drones will change war – and more
  • Business service robots – the best robot technology is unseen
  • Labor markets – job destruction by robots could outweight creation
  • Domestic service robots – a robot around the house doesn’t just have to be handy; it has to be likeable too
  • Regulation – robots are as good, or as bad, as the people who make them

In a brief interview with The Economist Digital Editor Tom Standage, Oliver Morton gives an outline of the report and some of his conclusions – including that the rise of robots is… cool!


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Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.

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