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Update On The Megatrend of Robotics

Bob Gourley

robot-drone-uavhttps://i2.wp.com/ctovision.com/wp-content/uploads/robot-drone-uav.jpg?w... 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-recalc-dims="1" />There are seven key megatrends driving the future of enterprise IT. You can remember them all with the helpful mnemonic acronym CAMBRIC, which stands for Cloud ComputingArtificial IntelligenceMobilityBig DataRoboticsInternet of ThingsCyberSecurity.

In this post we dive deeper into the trend of Robotics.

Operating along a spectrum of human controlled to semi-autonomous to totally independent, robots are already operating in our world. They save lives in hospitals, are taking the place of humans in dangerous jobs, improve our oil exploration and farming, endure the hazards of outer space and now fight our wars. Soon they will make driving safe. Like AI, Robotics hold great potential to displace large portions of the global workforce. Robotic factories are already causing a large shift of manufacturing back from China to the US and we expect that trend to continue (but the bad news is that new robotic manufacturing plants employ far fewer people).

We believe all countries should assume they are in a race towards robotics manufacturing and we should plan to win that race. Right now we are not. The US stands the chance of losing to other regions if we do not lead with vision.

A snapshot of the trend right now indicates:

  • Robotic and AI technologies are growing more affordable, more capable and easier to use.
  • Like AI, Robotics hold great potential to displace large portions of the global workforce. Dec 2016 White House Report makes it clear that these benefits will cause disruption in the workforce. Workers who do not have skills to compete in an AI and Robotic future will suffer.
  • Robotic factories are already causing a large shift of manufacturing back from China to the US and we expect that trend to continue (but the bad news is that new robotic plants employ far fewer people).
  • Investments in robotic manufacturing will continue with manufacturing growing but employment not. Manufacturing will also begin to shift out of factories and into many other types of business enterprises. Imagine a near future where things are manufactured within miles of where they are sold/used.
  • By 2019, 35 percent of non-manufacturing businesses in several sectors will be using robotics to automate other aspects of their operations. Those sectors will include logistics, health, utilities and resources, according to IDC.
  • Among IDC's other top 10 robotics predictions are: 1) growing use of a "robot-as-a-service" business model; 2) more enterprises with chief robotics officers; 3) an increasingly competitive robotic vendor marketplace; 4) growing demand for employees with robotics-related skills; 5) increased robotics regulations for safety, security and privacy; 6) more cloud-based robotic software; 7) development of smarter, faster and more "collaborative" robots; 8) a rise in commercial robots that are connected to an intelligent mesh network; and 9) greater use of robots in e-commerce-related warehouses and deliveries.
  • Robotic vehicles are coming, faster than many realize. Estimates are that robotic drivers will displace more jobs than any other category in the workforce.
  • More than 60% of surveyed Americans say they are somewhat or very positive about autonomous cars. But safety is still a concern. Currently 63% of consumers say they won't feel safe in a fully-automated vehicle. We believe those numbers will shift in the favor of automation with time.

Open questions decision-makers should track include:

  • Will job displacement be a crisis?
  • How hard will it be to deceive robots? Will that make hacking even easier?
  • What is the role of behavioral analytics in detecting normalcy in robots?

Books we appreciated for context around Robotics include:

A great way to track the emerging developments in this domain is our page on Robotic Companies.

For deeper considerations of the impact of Robotics on enterprise IT it is important to track all seven MegaTrends and consider them together. Dive deeper into all the trends and examine their impact on your organization via a CTOvision Pro membership, available for enterprises and individuals.

You can launch your examination of the MegaTrends through the categories menu at CTOvision, or directly via these links:  Cloud ComputingArtificial IntelligenceMobilityBig DataRoboticsInternet of ThingsCyberSecurity.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com