Robot People Are Coming

Well, not exactly. It is 2013 and we do not have flying cars or skateboards that Marty saw from Back to the Future or Will Smith saw in iRobot just yet, but we may be getting there. Anybot Incorporated, has developed the QB-82, they are telepresence robots that can reach up to six feet tall, wheel around the office or school and can display your face and voice through their 3.5-inch video screen. Rachel Emma Silverman talks about her experience with her QB-82 aka Robot Rachel (the third, since the first two had some technical difficulties) back in 2009 which allowed her to be at home in Texas yet be with her company’s home office in New York. Rachel was able to her Robot Rachel roll around the New York office for a few hours a day that she was able to control through her laptop arrow keys. But does this all really work? Are we really going to get to a point, may not in the next decade or so, that we can all work from home and be in the office via these robots? Will students be able to still go to school when they are out sick via a QB? As of now, everyone owning and operating a QB is not insight, they are expensive being priced at $9,700 and only 130 built (at the time), but maybe one day. The QB gave Rachel the opportunity to see and hear her coworkers allowing her to feel a closeness with her so distant colleges that a lot of people whom work from home can lose while also building a more personal connection, why isn’t exactly clear except the idea that through a robot people cannot distinguish your body language and “resulting in a higher level of openness” according to David Hsieh, Cisco System Inc. Vice president of marketing for video and emerging business. With new technology comes some technical difficulties though, a lot of IT calls were made during Rachel’s experience, the QB is not designer for elevator rides, the audio reception isn’t the best receiver, the wireless internet connection can be spotting, just like any other computer the screen could freeze and it can go a little haywire and trash around during some of these connection issues but overall IT is available and the QB is always able to go in for repairs.
Are we going into an age where we go through life as our robot counter parts and go by Robot (your name)? Not likely, but who’s to say. As of now, nothing beats face to face interaction at the work place, communication is such a strong factor in any business or life aspect and effective communication is more than just verbal and presences, its body language it’s our hand gestures, our facial expression and more. Just don’t be surprised if the next time you go to see your friend’s new baby in the hospital, that a QB isn’t roaming around delivering the dinner tray.

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