Chaplin’s utopia – our present
The recent Oivalluksia robotiikasta event convinced over a hundred participants that Satakunta truly is the coast of robotics. The region came with its A-game and invited experts from around the country to share their insights into the current state of robotics.
Robots are used in various ways to increase productivity. A mobile robot can move around in a designated zone ferrying, for example, various tools. A cooperative robot can lift heavy objects and work together safely with people.
A representative from an industrial robotics company pointed out that, relative to the increase in productivity, robots are already too cheap, as a fully functional industrial robot costs the buyer less than a hundred thousand euros. This is an issue of perspective. The affordable price brings the robots within the grasp of many entrepreneurs and helps a country like Finland in the competition for manufacturing jobs against countries with a cheaper labour force. Robots are no longer strange in the context of health services, either.
Charlie Chaplin’s movie Modern Times contains an iconic scene, wherein a mechanical apparatus feeds a cob of corn to poor old Charlie who tries his best to keep up with the machine. The dream of robots helping people is an old one. We live in a time when such help can finally be fully utilized. Hopefully, the humane foresight and creativity exhibited by the master of cinema will lead our way.