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Are robots serving to or hindering sustainable growth?

Jul 09, 2022 (Nanowerk Information) A brand new research brings us updated on the advantages and pitfalls of robotics and autonomous methods (RASs) in terms of attaining the Sustainable Improvement Targets (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN). RASs are altering the world. Nonetheless, till not too long ago, the alternatives and threats they current had not been systematically thought of in relation to their involvement in assembly the UN’s SDGs. A horizon scan performed with partial help from the EU-funded MEMMO and PERSEO tasks has now assessed how RASs will impression on SDG supply. The analysis findings have been revealed within the journal Nature Communications (“Assembly sustainable growth targets through robotics and autonomous methods”). “Robotics and autonomous methods are right here to remain and can essentially rework how we work together with each other, expertise and the setting. This transformation provides many potential advantages for sustainable growth,” observes the research’s lead writer Dr Solène Guenat of the College of Stuttgart, Germany, in a information merchandise posted on the UK’s College of Leeds web site. “Nonetheless, realising these advantages whereas minimising unintended penalties is a fancy problem,” continues Dr Guenat, who started the analysis whereas at Leeds. “Early identification of potential damaging impacts together with early collaboration and continued dialogue throughout stakeholders will assist us seize alternatives whereas avoiding pitfalls.” The horizon scan concerned 102 consultants in robotics, autonomous methods and SDGs from 23 international locations worldwide. The consultants’ responses in on-line surveys, group discussions and workshops have been used to find out the primary alternatives and threats of RASs.

Key alternatives

The researchers recognized 5 key alternatives that should be thought of whereas growing, deploying and governing RASs. These embody changing people in duties which are unsafe, repetitive, or for which labour is difficult to search out or retain, and supporting human actions, for instance by reducing human workloads the place there’s a scarcity of staff. Individuals additionally thought of RASs to have the potential to foster innovation by rushing up R&D, and to boost entry by reworking present transportation methods and enabling safer entry to distant and/or harmful areas. Lastly, RASs have been stated to have the ability to enhance automated monitoring and knowledge assortment to help and inform decision-making.

Key threats

4 threats have been recognized that would hamper SDG supply. First, RASs might intensify present inequalities by being unaffordable for a lot of international locations and lowering the necessity for low-skilled staff. Second, they may have a damaging environmental impression due to the power wanted for large-scale deployment, the assets used to construct them, and the air pollution created to make use of and eliminate them. Issues have been additionally raised about RASs diverting assets away from tried-and-tested approaches to attaining the SDGs and insufficient governance that would result in moral points about knowledge use. Senior writer Prof. Martin Dallimer of the College of Leeds states within the information merchandise: “There are already promising methods to mitigate a few of the recognized threats robotics and autonomous methods might current. For instance with points concerning inequalities, there’s a clear have to empower extra girls and people from various backgrounds to have interaction with robotics growth. This, together with higher engagement by engineers with sustainable growth professionals would be sure that robotics and autonomous methods are developed and deployed whereas respecting the wants of a number of completely different teams. Certainly, acceptable mitigation measures to counter the potential damaging impacts of robotics and autonomous methods would, by their very nature, contribute to attaining Sustainable Improvement Targets.” MEMMO (Reminiscence of Movement) led to June 2022. The 4-year PERSEO (European Coaching Community on PErsonalized Robotics as SErvice Oriented purposes) undertaking ends in December 2024.



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