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posted by hubie on Monday March 20 2023, @05:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-dated-a-robot dept.

Human-shaped robots with dexterous hands will be staffing warehouses and retail stores, tending to the elderly and performing household chores within a decade or so, according to a Silicon Valley startup working toward that vision:

Demographic trends — such as a persistent labor shortage and the growing elder care crisis — make fully-functioning, AI-driven humanoid robots look tantalizingly appealing.

Companies such as Amazon are reportedly worried about running out of warehouse workers, whose jobs are physically and mentally demanding with high attrition.

A heavy-hitting startup called Figure, which just emerged from stealth mode, is building a prototype of a humanoid robot that the company says will eventually be able to walk, climb stairs, open doors, use tools and lift boxes — perhaps even make dinner.

[...] It will take decades for humanoid robots to be able to replicate the sophisticated things our bodies can do, but visionaries are hard at work trying to make it happen.

Previously: Elon Musk Reveals Plans to Unleash a Humanoid Tesla Bot

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Opportunist on Monday March 20 2023, @08:17AM (4 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Monday March 20 2023, @08:17AM (#1297136)

    Dear company owners, people who are supposed to work for you are not stupider than you. Would you sell your product below cost? Why do you expect people to sell their workforce at that level?

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  • (Score: 2) by gtomorrow on Monday March 20 2023, @09:40AM (3 children)

    by gtomorrow (2230) on Monday March 20 2023, @09:40AM (#1297142)
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Opportunist on Monday March 20 2023, @10:54AM (1 child)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Monday March 20 2023, @10:54AM (#1297147)

      That pretty much showcases the problem our economy already has and the problem that will become more prominent as time progresses: Our system needs people who have money to consume.

      That's what our economy depends on. The exchange of goods and services, which is the foundation of our economy model, only works if the demand side has the means to demand. Because demand isn't, as many people think, when someone wants something. That's only want. Something that I would prefer to have but don't have. Everyone has all sorts of wants. Whether that turns into a demand depends on whether they also have the means to afford it and the will to enter the trade. So depend is three things coming together: Want, will and means. Let's combine want and will for simplicity's sake and simplify it to wanting something and having the means to afford it.

      If, and only if, both things happen at the same time, demand is generated.

      And the means is what people lack. They cannot play their role in our economy anymore. The system started to crack in the 80s when inflation outpaced wages considerably for the first time, and that gap grew wider as time passed. Inflation since 1970 in the USA is about 750%. In other words, a Dollar of 2023 would have had the purchasing power of $7.5 in 1970. The median annual income in the US in 1970 was $9,870. In 2023, it's $53,490. As per inflation, it should be about 74,000.

      We lost about 30% of our income since 1970. And the trend is moving down, not up.

      Less income means less consumption. And that mostly means less demand for services because services, as great as they are for the economy since you're essentially selling workforce, i.e. the one commodity that is so easy to multiply, at least as long as you have people willing and able to work, services are the first thing people cut down on when money becomes tight. What can you rather do without, food or a haircut?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @01:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @01:46PM (#1297164)

        You need to be more precise with your terms. There's inflation_1 which is when demand strips supply and the price goes up. Then there's inflation_2 which is where corporations get so large they can control markets, or collude to price-fix rather than compete. You can think of it like a parasite overwhelming the organism.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2023, @08:01AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2023, @08:01AM (#1297540) []

      During that story's segment, a CW-6 news presenter remarked: "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse'."

      That, apparently, was enough to set off Alexa-powered Echo boxes around San Diego on their own shopping sprees.