This week, the Boston start-up company Rethink Robotics unveiled Baxter, the manufacturing robot which is designed to work safely right alongside humans. Baxter’s creators say the robot can be easily trained to perform a wide variety of tasks, and comes with a “disruptive” price of $22,000.
What impact will Baxter have once it enters the workplace and starts helping workers to do their jobs?
Rodney Brooks, Rethink Robotics founder, chairman and chief technology officer, believes employees who work with the robot will be promoted to better and more meaningful roles that will require greater skills.
Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business and co-author of: “Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy”, is not quite as positive about what robots will mean for American manufacturing jobs.
Both Brooks and McAfee are guests at a forthcoming event at Suffolk University in Boston, led by the host of WGBH’s “Innovation Hub,” Kara Miller: “The New Economy: How Automation is Changing the Game.”
At the studios of our partner station WGBH in Boston, The Takeaway considers how the next generation of robots could fundamentally change the workplace and the economy.