We’re always seeing articles about robots taking over the world, but which country really is having a robot revolution? The simple response: South Korea has the highest concentration of industrial robots of any country (with second place going to Singapore, then third place being Japan—the US came in eighth).
So why is South Korea so robotically driven as a nation? One reason could be finance. The South Korean government is spending more than $450 million developing the field over the next five years. It is a new technology frontier and it is clear South Korea wants to be first in developing this new industry. By 2019 it is speculated by the International Data Corporation that the robotics industry will be work $135 billion, which is near doubling its worth since 2015.
Being a player on the big stage before something happens is always a good step financially, but will it play out to be a good step for the people of the country? Only time will tell.
Caretaking of the elderly has always fallen on two different group: the family or an outside source like a nurse or living facility. As scores of people reach their golden years the question about who will care for them as life start to get a bit more difficult for them to live independently comes to the minds of those around them and of course themselves. Living without the aid of others is often seen as a key level of independence and many senior citizens fear losing that independence. So, what if robots hold the key to not only keeping a level of care, but also this much desired sense of autonomy? This may very well be the case in the future.
We already have robots doing lots of tasks: building machines, vacuuming our floors, and creating all sorts of forms of entertainment for us. So in the future we can expect them to surely be good caretakers. Able to open fridges, give medicine, and open doors they will be nurses and friends who do not need to go home or sleep. They will always be there for those who need them.
But will we accept them? A EU survey published last year said 51 percent would feel “uncomfortable” about “a robot provide services and companionship to elderly or infirm people.” The public overall still seems cold to the idea of robots taking care of us or being in our lives to a bigger degree. Only time will tell if we will warm up and take advantage of the benefits robot caretakers could give.