A major theme in the recent political discourse centers around the perceived impact of robots and automation on the labor force. Putting aside the rhetoric, the relationship between human activity and robotics will indeed inform the future of human jobs, and the direction of technological innovation in the coming decades.
But the success of robotics depends on how well they situate into human environments. Autonomy has made enormous strides in the past decade, but before we see complete autonomy, and perhaps even after, engineers and other technologists will need to further develop the field of human-centered robotics. When it comes to robots navigating through human environments, we are only just beginning. The new frontier is designing the rules and relationships between people, robots, and the infrastructure we’ve created. To get there, we’ll need to develop better sensors and software, while thinking of new ways to architect systems.
We believe that the game of chess provides an example of the opportunity ahead. Robotics mirrors the interplay we saw in the late 1990’s, where humans and machines vyed for the title of ultimate chess master. While machines came out the clear victor in 1:1 play, the strongest players now are the hybrid teams of human and machine. Perhaps the future isn’t as dystopian as we think. Not man vs. machine, but rather man+machine vs. our greatest challenges.
We have the pleasure of co-hosting our dinner with Josh Elman, partner at Greylock Partners and we’re joined by Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics. With their unique insight, we will draw on their leadership and experience designing, building, and scaling products. We will focus the dinner discussion around the future of robotics and hardware.