Picture this – you walk into a hospital hoping to see a dentist because you need to get a tooth pulled out. As you wait for the assigned dentist to arrive, a cold and unfamiliar object touches your head and instructs you to open your mouth for a comprehensive oral health check. As it appears, you find that the object is a robot “doctor,” and that it will perform your tooth extraction in a few moments. After going through the extraction, you take a drive downtown to buy food at a restaurant, and to your surprise, you find no one behind the counter except three robot “chefs” preparing the meals.
This scenario may seem like it had come straight out of a film, but a report from the BBC says that this is how the coronavirus pandemic has been changing the world now. And, although people always said that they wanted a human element to their interactions, analysts say that COVID-19 has changed that, making a trail of impact on consumer preferences and automation.
With a huge number of workers advised to stay and work from home after some have fallen ill and gone into quarantine, companies have reportedly started to deploy robots to perform their roles.
These robots were used to disinfect hospitals and areas with coronavirus to prevent it from spreading to other areas, but with health officials imposing physical distancing measures, companies have found a way to expand the said roles.
Robots have been sighted scrubbing the floors of Walmart’s grocery stores in the U.S., while one is seen preparing food in a hospital located in Ezhou, China. Some letters also informed sightings of robots delivering food and groceries to homes and establishments in South Korea.
Blue Ocean Robotics, a Danish startup that manufactures ultraviolet-light-disinfection robots called UVD Robots, had shipped hundreds of units to China and Europe only a month ago. It is said that more manufacturers will follow in its footsteps to cater to a huge demand arising from both public and private establishments worldwide.
In previous years, analysts have been predicting how a significant amount of workers around the world would be replaced by automation and robots by 2030. With the onset of the unresolved coronavirus pandemic, the same are changing their statements indicating that the said era would come sooner than expected.
A question remains: are we ready?
Featured image courtesy of Lukas/Unsplash.
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