A variety of stories in this issue, which reflects the wide ranging industry that is robotics.
Taking centre stage is our main feature on collaborative robots. I make the point that this is where the industry could win the initial PR war. Collaborative robots have been developed to help and work alongside humans. They are there to help improve productivity and working practices.
Now most of us within the industry think that robots that go beyond the collaborative level will also have a beneficiary effect on us all, that they will actually create jobs, as every large stepchange in technology has proved in the past. But public opinion is divided. The fear is that robots will quickly replace the need for human labour and create a major revolution in the workplace, one that could shake the whole of society.
Collaborative robots are the appetizer to a world that will become increasingly automated, whether humankind likes it, or not. The worrying thing is that we have to be prepared for what’s around the corner. And that comes down to Government’s initiatives, and policies that are there to train the next generation workforce. But how many governments are ready? Can we trust our leaders to make the big step in their own thinking that will get their populations ready?
Singapore is certainly taking the bull by the horns with its SkillsFuture initiative. Employers there are asked to spell out the changes, industry by industry, that they expect to happen over the next three to five years, and to identify the skills they will need. Their answers create “industry transformation maps” which are designed to guide individuals on where to head. What’s more, since January 2016, every Singaporean above the age of 25 has been given $345 credit that can be freely used to pay for any training courses provided by 500 approved providers. These include universities and MOOCs. So well done this small City state. They act as a beacon for others to follow.
We have some great contributed features, which feature plastic reuse, an automated dairy and one which poses the valid question, should there be a robo-tax?
And as well as the latest news, we have also prepared a Robo Snippets section – an array of small robo stories which help us keep up with what is a fascinating sector.
All the best,