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What To Expect When You're Expecting Robots: The Future of Human-Robot Collaboration

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The next generation of robots will be truly social, but can we make sure that they play well in the sandbox? Most robots are just tools. They do limited sets of tasks subject to constant human control. But a new type of robot is coming. These machines will operate on their own in busy, unpredictable public spaces. They'll ferry deliveries, manage emergency rooms, even g The next generation of robots will be truly social, but can we make sure that they play well in the sandbox? Most robots are just tools. They do limited sets of tasks subject to constant human control. But a new type of robot is coming. These machines will operate on their own in busy, unpredictable public spaces. They'll ferry deliveries, manage emergency rooms, even grocery shop. Such systems could be truly collaborative, accomplishing tasks we don't do well without our having to stop and direct them. This makes them social entities, so, as robot designers Laura Major and Julie Shah argue, whether they make our lives better or worse is a matter of whether they know how to behave. What to Expect When You're Expecting Robots offers a vision for how robots can survive in the real world and how they will change our relationship to technology. From teaching them manners, to robot-proofing public spaces, to planning for their mistakes, this book answers every question you didn't know you needed to ask about the robots on the way.


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The next generation of robots will be truly social, but can we make sure that they play well in the sandbox? Most robots are just tools. They do limited sets of tasks subject to constant human control. But a new type of robot is coming. These machines will operate on their own in busy, unpredictable public spaces. They'll ferry deliveries, manage emergency rooms, even g The next generation of robots will be truly social, but can we make sure that they play well in the sandbox? Most robots are just tools. They do limited sets of tasks subject to constant human control. But a new type of robot is coming. These machines will operate on their own in busy, unpredictable public spaces. They'll ferry deliveries, manage emergency rooms, even grocery shop. Such systems could be truly collaborative, accomplishing tasks we don't do well without our having to stop and direct them. This makes them social entities, so, as robot designers Laura Major and Julie Shah argue, whether they make our lives better or worse is a matter of whether they know how to behave. What to Expect When You're Expecting Robots offers a vision for how robots can survive in the real world and how they will change our relationship to technology. From teaching them manners, to robot-proofing public spaces, to planning for their mistakes, this book answers every question you didn't know you needed to ask about the robots on the way.

34 review for What To Expect When You're Expecting Robots: The Future of Human-Robot Collaboration

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    For however smart your Roomba or Alexa might seem, historically, robots have been fairly dumb. They are only able to do their jobs when given a narrow set of tasks, confined in a controlled environment, and overseen by a human operator. But things are changing. A new breed of robots is in development that will operate largely on their own. They'll drive on roads and sidewalks, ferry deliveries within buildings, stock shelves in stores, and coordinate teams of doctors and nurses. These autonomous For however smart your Roomba or Alexa might seem, historically, robots have been fairly dumb. They are only able to do their jobs when given a narrow set of tasks, confined in a controlled environment, and overseen by a human operator. But things are changing. A new breed of robots is in development that will operate largely on their own. They'll drive on roads and sidewalks, ferry deliveries within buildings, stock shelves in stores, and coordinate teams of doctors and nurses. These autonomous systems will find their way into busy, often unpredictable public spaces. They could be truly collaborative, augmenting human work by attending to the parts of tasks we don't do as well, without our having to stop and direct them. But consider, for a moment, the sorcerer's apprentice. The broom he set to work was also supposed to be collaborative, too, and should have made his life much easier. But the broom didn't know how to behave, and the apprentice no longer understood the thing he had made. The challenge of this next generation of robots is that, like the apprentice's broom, they will wreak complete havoc, inadvertently hurting or even killing people, unless we can recognize a simple truth: collaborative robots will be the first truly social creatures that technology has created. They will need to know how to behave in unfamiliar spaces and around untrained users and bystanders. Robot experts Julie Shah and Laura Major are among those engineers leading the development of collaborative robots, and in this book, they will offer their vision for how to make it in the new era of human-robot collaboration. They set out the blueprint for what they call working robots, which in many ways resemble service animals, and take readers through the many fascinating and surprising challenges that both engineers and the public will need to address in figuring out these machines can be responsibly integrated into society: what they will have to look like, how they will have to talk to strangers and what robot etiquette will be, whether we will have to "robot-proof" public spaces and infrastructure, and how the safety-critical work of human-robot collaboration will force a sea change in how the tech industry is regulated. Today, we still gawk at a car that drives by without a driver. Tomorrow, you might find yourself driving next to five of them. We can debate whether the singularity will ever come, but robots need not be superintelligent in order to revolutionize our relationship to technology. Read this book to find out how. Addressing both the positive and negative connotations and implications of robots gaining more of a foothold in every area of life in the not too distant future whilst in conjunction with humans, this is a fascinating, prescient and accessible book. It's eminently readable, too, and could not have been written by those with any more expertise in the subject. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Basic Books for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Bingham

    Autonomous vehicles, package delivery drones, automatic grocery restocking units: these examples of emerging robot technology are vastly different from previous task-specific devices like your Roomba or even industrial assembly-line robots. That difference involves their need to interact with our world to safely perform their complex tasks while coping with our unpredictability. They need to learn how to behave to get along with us. In What To Expect When You're Expecting Robots: The Future of Hu Autonomous vehicles, package delivery drones, automatic grocery restocking units: these examples of emerging robot technology are vastly different from previous task-specific devices like your Roomba or even industrial assembly-line robots. That difference involves their need to interact with our world to safely perform their complex tasks while coping with our unpredictability. They need to learn how to behave to get along with us. In What To Expect When You're Expecting Robots: The Future of Human-Robot Collaboration, Laura Major and Julie Shah focus on the importance of relationships between working robots and their uncertain environment, especially humans. The authors' experience includes robotics for the aerospace, military, and autonomous vehicle industries. Their consideration of robot behavior incorporates examples across industry and academia. We are shown connections from past human/automaton collaborations from aviation and process control to today's commercially-available smart robots. In parallel with technological innovation, they also expound on the related sociology and human-factors engineering that accompanied it. As a product development professional, I found that the book contained numerous gems for me that apply outside the realm of Robotics. One such example involved NASA's classification of events based on how decisions get made, which could help guide any automation design. Type II events, those foreseeable events where we can't predetermine the correct response, can't be automated. Still, we could enhance the human response by focusing only on the most relevant information. This principle could be applied to improve the design of a web app used to manage and monitor a communication network, for instance, where automation can mitigate many network failures. When a Type II event occurred, the UI could focus on that failure and filter the control elements to only those relevant to the human operator for problem-solving the error. In this case, the goal is to facilitate more effective creative problem-solving, which is a strength the human excels at over any current artificial system. I initially picked this book to read because I am deeply interested in the relationship between Artificial Intelligence and Humans. Well, that plus the brightly colored cover with the tongue-in-cheek title harkening back to a universal parenting book and the cute robot-child on it. I found an accessible exploration of the social, environmental, and policy issues to tackle so that automation and robotics can continue to make our lives better by complementing our strengths. This book should be required reading for anyone involved in products that incorporate AI, machine learning, or robotic technologies. I recommend it to anyone interested in or worried about technology and its impact on society.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gxianfranko

    What did I expect from a book titled "…Expecting Robots?". Certainly not all the interesting reflections, nor the frightening predictions and surprising possibilities of the near future when humans and robots will live together. I had in mind the robots of science fiction (Asimov’s anyone?) and I assumed that current robots, in their various forms, would progressively reach an extraordinary degree of sophistication, but basically in a quiet and harmless way. The book by Major and Shah was a cold What did I expect from a book titled "…Expecting Robots?". Certainly not all the interesting reflections, nor the frightening predictions and surprising possibilities of the near future when humans and robots will live together. I had in mind the robots of science fiction (Asimov’s anyone?) and I assumed that current robots, in their various forms, would progressively reach an extraordinary degree of sophistication, but basically in a quiet and harmless way. The book by Major and Shah was a cold shower, an abrupt return to solid reality: in any case, the future won't be easy. This book is about how the robot must be designed to really help people, to understand their behavior and intentions, to take care of them, to make the impact of new robotic developments less dangerous and traumatic. Fundamentally, to achieve this, we must rethink the way we view technology and what we expect from it. The Authors - both involved in robotics (Susan Calvin would like them) - use the problems and the excellent results achieved in aeronautics field especially in terms of design and safety, to offer guidelines to developers, engineers and technicians about new robots. The risk today is to focus on creating software and machines increasingly perfect “in vitro”, but ill-suited and dangerous in the real world. From the very beginning instead, the aim should be to create a dynamic balance and an immediate understanding between supervisors, robots and bystanders (pets included). We don't need cute robots, but robots capable of interacting with human beings even on the basis of our many unwritten rules and different cultures, of giving and receiving help, of not being a risk, of making general life safer. It is a task that we need to start with right now, involving designers, politicians, industrialists and citizens. So, what to expect when you are expecting robots? A lot of problems, indeed, but the ideas in this book can help to considerably reduce their number. A very good book, Major and Shah! Oh, this book clearly is not a novel, but the authors write well and some scenes seem almost fiction, for example the passages describing robots, people and cars swarming in our cities, or the fleet of robots making deliveries in a neighborhood… A very good book, with an important and very necessary message.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Manuela

    That was quite an interesting book to read! Many of the takes were regarding things I have never think about - though it seems quite intuitive after you read. It will be interesting to watch how the next years will play out, and compare with the authors take on the subject. It got me think about all the obstacles the robots roll out will face, and I am particularly nervous about the strong dependence it needs on the collaboration between many conflicting parts and the sharing of data between the That was quite an interesting book to read! Many of the takes were regarding things I have never think about - though it seems quite intuitive after you read. It will be interesting to watch how the next years will play out, and compare with the authors take on the subject. It got me think about all the obstacles the robots roll out will face, and I am particularly nervous about the strong dependence it needs on the collaboration between many conflicting parts and the sharing of data between them. I really can't see this going very smoothly... I am not well versed on the history of the automation, and the authors did a great job when selecting the examples to make a case for the expectations of this new phase of robot development. One thing I was particularly drawn to were the comparisons with the aviation industry. I might look for a book regarding its history in the future, seems like a very compelling subject. It was a great read, and I am recommending this book for many of my friends that are interested in AI. I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Groucho42

    A thoroughly mediocre book about human-robot collaboration. The authors are from aerospace, drones, and autonomous vehicle space, and that's all they seem to know. The have no clue about the long history of robotic in manufacturing, or the work on collaboration being done there, until they mention Amazon late in the book. Guess what, Amazon wasn't the first. In addition, they're talking about collaboration within wider society, and they ignore the issue of regulations. Still, for all the flaws, th A thoroughly mediocre book about human-robot collaboration. The authors are from aerospace, drones, and autonomous vehicle space, and that's all they seem to know. The have no clue about the long history of robotic in manufacturing, or the work on collaboration being done there, until they mention Amazon late in the book. Guess what, Amazon wasn't the first. In addition, they're talking about collaboration within wider society, and they ignore the issue of regulations. Still, for all the flaws, there are some very good nuggets of ideas that should be considered when looking at human-robot collaboration, and it's a smooth read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Quinn McHugh

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  8. 4 out of 5

    MarkT

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  10. 4 out of 5

    mad mags

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sinead

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rose Alexander

  13. 4 out of 5

    John H

  14. 4 out of 5

    Britny Perilli

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  17. 5 out of 5

    Madeline Goh

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ameenah

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hestia

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Achsa Phillippi

  23. 5 out of 5

    General Greysorrow

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine St. John

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gnaratna

  26. 5 out of 5

    Danni Green

  27. 5 out of 5

    Billie Cotterman

  28. 4 out of 5

    Graham

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jay

  30. 4 out of 5

    Irene

  31. 5 out of 5

    Gedi Siuskus

  32. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  33. 5 out of 5

    Maryelin

  34. 5 out of 5

    Nihal

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