Date / Time: Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 2:00 PM New York/11:00 AM San Francisco
Between October last year and May this year, the number of robots ferrying goods about Amazon.com's warehouses grew from about 1,300 to over 10,000, an eightfold increase. During this period, Google bought at least eight companies developing robot-related technology, deepening its existing commitment to automated systems that already power its self-driving cars.
Consulting firm McKinsey last year issued a report estimating that knowledge work automaton tools and systems could have $5.2 trillion to $6.7 trillion in economic impact annually annually by 2025. The report calculates the potential productivity gain of automation as "equivalent to the output of 75 million to 90 million full-time workers in advanced economies and 35 million to 50 million full-time workers in developing countries." Whether such automated work takes the form of additional productivity or the replacement of human labor remains to be seen.
In an effort to capture a portion of that revenue, the UK government in July introduced its robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) strategy in conjunction with a $257 million funding commitment to advance UK-based robotics research.
Robots and automation are redefining labor and productivity, for better or worse. Tune in to hear InformationWeek editor Chris Murphy interview San Diego State University professor Robert Judge about how changing technology has made mobile robotic systems more broadly useful for business and how automation will take over more and more tasks done by knowledge workers.