Top 10 Predictions for Enterprise Robotics for 2017

It's hard to bet against the continued rise of automation, robots and artificial intelligence (AI), all of which have already having major impacts on how we work, learn, shop and play. But being able to predict that robotics and AI will change our lives is a lot easier than predicting how they will change our lives.

In a recent forecast for 2017 and beyond, for instance, the analyst firm IDC said we can continue to see robotic and AI technologies keep growing more affordable, more capable and easier to use. The Obama White House said it expects the same, but also warns in a new report that "growth will not be costless" and could harm workers lacking the skills to compete in an AI-driven economy.

How the incoming administration plans to address such issues is also uncertain. While President-elect Donald Trump's campaign promised to revive U.S. manufacturing and spend $1 trillion on the nation's infrastructure, he has also tapped Hardee's/Carl's Jr. chief Andrew Puzder -- who supports the use of automation to save on employment costs -- as secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, Dallas Mavericks owner and frequent Trump critic Mark Cuban this week penned an opinion piece urging the president-elect to invest $100 billion of his proposed infrastructure fund into U.S.-based robotics development.

Smarter, Faster, More Networked Robots

Whatever direction politics takes, robotics and AI technologies are quickly advancing to the point where they will be moving out of factories and into many other types of business enterprises. In its forecast released earlier this month, IDC noted those advances are being made possible by ongoing improvements in artificial intelligence, computer vision, navigation, MEMS (microelectromechanical) sensors and semiconductors.

By 2019, 35 percent of non-manufacturing businesses in several sectors will be using robotics to automate other aspects of their operations....

Comments are closed.