He thinks robotics has been stymied by a basic cost problem: it costs 10 times more to integrate robots into product lines than the robot itself.
That means it’s only cost-effective to use robots in high-volume, high-value product lines. He believes that he can create robots that trash this model and make it cost-effective to use robots in a wide variety of manufacturing environments, eliminating the cost advantages of countries with cheap labor.
Brooks is cagey about when this might happen. He says these are the main challenges that need to be overcome:
* make robots as visually adept as a two-year old child.
* give robots the language capabilities of a four-year old child.
* give robots the manual dexterity of a 6 year old – (this may need the development of new materials).
* give robots the social awareness of an 9-year old child.
He does not believe in humanoid robots, by the way.
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