Your Planet Sustainable?Your Tribe Harmonious?Your Life Vibrant?
Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

2025-2050: Roboworld

In Roboworld humans and robots coexist peacefully. The homo robo has developed into a friendly, empathic and helpful creature which does many chores for us. And they’ll often be small chores. Cleaning the dishwasher, folding and cleaning the laundry or cleaning the toilet. But the homo robo won’t shy from cutting fresh vegetables. With a little garden space, the homo robo might even collect vegetables fresh from one’s own land. Healthier and tastier than that is impossible. All you have to do is seat yourself at the table.

Where we now see robots as technology, as special device or as toys, in Roboworld, robots will have a completely human appearance, the so-called humanoids. They’ll move naturally, like humans do. Their voice will barely be distinguishable from real voices and the words they use will be the words we use. Their skill will feel soft and human, their eyes look like our faithfully four-pawed friends and they can pet us with tenderness. And every year new versions will come out. At the end of the period in which robots are accepted en masse in households, these guys will even go to maintenance themselves if there’s something wrong with them. And we’ll worry about them when something’s wrong. Because your Robo is emotion, that barely feels like technology.

The developments of robots in households in the world will have a huge impact on the economy. Work in ‘low-wage countries’ can be done in one’s own country for even less: the shipping of raw materials, semi-manufactured articles and end products is a time-consuming and especially expensive hobby. That’s why the concept of low-wage countries will disappear into the history books. Furthermore robots themselves will be an important part of the economy: we have to buy them. The price of a robot will be in between the price of a car and a house. The homo robo is far more complex than a car, but won’t surpass the price of a house. Not yet. Because even after the revolution in which every household gets its own robot this development won’t stop. Compare it to the development of cars.

Robot technology in labs is being developed rapidly. It’s incredibly impressive to see how mechanical technology develops and is even taking humanoid shapes, but at the same time we see incredibly few robots in real life. It’s restricted to toys and gadgets that don’t work properly like vacuuming robots. The state of the technology is of course a reason (it’s not good enough yet), the cost is another (it’s supposedly unaffordable), but especially ‘vulnerability’ will play a part for a long time to come. Humanoid robots will be accepted fairly rapidly, but they’re also vulnerable. The dog will have no problem knocking the homo robo over, a puzzle of 5000 pieces will just be sucked up by the vacuum cleaner and the newly-painted floor will be carried on in the rest of the house with robofeet because our housemate just walked across it. And then we’ve not even mentioned the risk of leaving the superpowerful robo alone in the living room with our five year old niece. Before you know it, the robot will have a cleaning rage and puts all the dolls in the closet. That’s why this trend will only become important when the media technology is so far along that we can recognize the things in our house effortlessly and know how to use them.

Latest observations for 2025-2050: Roboworld

Latest observations for 2025-2050: Roboworld (in Dutch)