Toni Reid, boss of Alexa at Amazon, is one leading businesses going all out to to help you, me
and Jess and Will cook and clean without lifting a finger.
In this article, I predict how huge home robots will be by 2030 on a scale of 1 to 10 based on looking at:
- The technology needed
- The companies making it happen
- What's to love
- jobs that will be hired.
Home robots will be huge if the three major technology challenges are solved.
For cooking, it is "MAYBE SOLVED" by 2030. Today, Jess and Will prepare ingredients and make the food. For them to hand over the cooking to Alexa, Toni needs A LOT of complex technologies to work well together.
To MOVE like this Atlas robot requires highly specialist robotic limbs and motors. To have human EXPRESSIONS like Sophia requires Artificial Intelligence to produce realistic expressions. This cooking request requires all the VOICE recognition technology that Alexa already has today. Alexa, can you cook spaghetti bolognese for the two of us? "Sure, it will be ready in 30 minutes"
To start cooking the Alexa robot needs to know what is needed, where it is stored and where to place it. Not easy at all. Adding the spaghetti to the pan and opening the bottle of sauce needs FINELY TUNED FINGERS that move like a human's, like this robot from Moley Robotics. To whisk, chop, add onions and other ingredients
and serve the food looks so easy here. But it isn't. The robot needs phenomenal amounts of AI and robotics.
The technologies needed for CLEANING "maybe solved" by 2030.
Today, Will vacuums but doesn't like doing it. What technologies can Toni harness to do ALL the cleaning for him? "I'm now going to start cleaning the house"
For Alexa to go upstairs, the Artificial Intelligence needed for the robotic legs is already here today as you can see. It's the fine detail of mundane tasks that are difficult. Here Hello Robot is having to solve which parts to clean
and how hard to push down on the surface and here it has to know what height to move its arm to. Alexa vacuums change the sheets and do the laundry. "I have finished the cleaning for the day".
The technical challenges of "Being Human" by 2030 will
be "Solved". For Toni to have a humanoid robot requires engineering that
as we see here Sophia already delivers including ... a human-like face and body,
facial expressions, hand movements, and the ability to wink and turn the head.
Miniaturised motors and algorithms drive everything.
Home Robots will be huge if there are unicorns - startup companies that have a valuation of more than a billion dollars and when there's plenty of big established companies.
HANSON ROBOTICS is a unicorn in the making. Dave Hanson is the founder and CEO. He is a robotics industry visionary. His obsession with cracking human gestures is making real progress as seen by how good his Sophia robot is becoming. [breathe]
BOSTON DYNAMICS is already a unicorn. It was bought for MORE THAN a billion dollars in 2020 by Hyundai, the Korean conglomerate. Boston Dynamics is solving many of robotics HARDEST technical challenges. Its Atlas robot already STANDS UPGRIGHT like a human Look at all the technology they've bundled inside that thing. Their Spot robot is also AMAZING. Think how much they've mastered so that it can open the door like this. [breathe]
HELLO ROBOT is small with only 12 employees listed on LinkedIn but it's doing vital work. It's led by Aaron Edsinger, an ex robotics director from Google. His Stretch robot is what robot engineers around the world need right now; namely one that they can build algorithms to do home tasks with. [breathe]
BIG COMPANIES are also active including Amazon, Google and Apple.
Wants to win in the home
Toni at Amazon is not the only one that wants to win in the home.
Google has Nest and here we see its robotics team-building training data for picking objects up. And who knows what Apple are up to. They have Siri and HomeKit but they never tell anyone anything. If I was Tim Cook, I would be going full throttle after this. Being a blend of hardware and software makes it a great fit for them.
The TECHNICAL EXPERTISE these big companies have is needed to succeed. Amazon invests in a huge amount of robotics for its warehouses including these moving shelves... and it knows lots about getting the right items TO THE HOME for cooking and cleaning. Google knows about blending hardware and software with its self-driving car Waymo division and brilliant AI with its DeepMind division. And with Apple, when it comes to designing an AMAZING robot, there'll be no one that can do it better.
Toni also is in a company where her chairman, Jeff Bezos, gives visible leadership to robotics. Here you see him using robotic arms and looking decidedly happy about it.
Now we look at Love. Home Robots will be huge if they attract plenty of 5-star ratings and a few 1 stars.
Because the robot gives shoppers like Jess and Will EXTRA QUALITY TIME for friends and family and to themselves, it gets 5 stars for this.
Today, Jess doesn't like cooking and ESPECIALLY the time spent peeling potatoes
and chopping vegetables. With Toni's home robot, it's ALL done for Jess and she loves it. She tells her friends that rather than spending the 37 minutes a day that the average American household spends cooking, with the robot she now spends LESS THAN 5 minutes a day.
3 stars for Healthy because, whilst the home robot cooks Jess and Will meals that are good for them, a downside for some is that these robots encourage an unhealthy lifestyle with people doing even less activity around the house.
Alexa, get me another beer "Sure, coming right up" [breathe]
2 stars for being AFFORDABLE. Today, Will and Jess don't pay ANYONE to do the cooking and cleaning. Toni's home robot sells for $10,000 with her making it more affordable by SPREADING THE PAYMENTS over 3 years so it costs $300 per month. For many, this is just too much But for others, they'll pay it..
Safety and privacy
Safety and Privacy scores 3 stars. Today, for Will and Jess, HOT PANS
and KNIVES are obvious safety risks. Robots like this one from Moley Robotics are able to safely handle them. And the robots need the technology to stay standing up like this Boston Dynamics's Atlas robot. And on privacy, Toni has today's Alexa privacy learnings to build upon. But there are many people who will worry about their safety and privacy bringing the rating down.
If home robots is going to be huge there will be lots of jobs hired and fired.
Some housekeepers and cleaners will be fired with them inevitably replaced by a home robot available 24/7.
On the hired side, there's a STAGGERING 2500 job openings in Amazon's Alexa and Robotics teams at the time of recording.
The vacancies are across many job functions including: more than a THOUSAND in software development, more than a HUNDRED in machine learning, finance, marketing, sales and HR.
It's well worth looking at LinkedIn if you're interested in getting a job in this sector. [don't rush] Helping you make good career decisions is a big reason why I'm doing this Life in 2030 channel. Jobs in fast growing new sectors like home robots are exciting and more secure than in older sectors. The home robot industry is global. Toni's vacancies are around the world including Mexico City, Bangalore and Tokyo. Hanson Robotics is headquartered in Hong Kong. And Boston Dynamics's owner is in South Korea.
You could set up some job alerts for these companies. It's easy to do on LinkedIn. Because there's plenty of jobs being hired and fired, from a Jobs point of view, home robots is at the huge end of the scale