Why spending hours on housework could become a thing of the past within 10 years
EXPERTS reckon that within a decade we’ll be able to put our feet up – as robots will be taking care of mundane household chores.
From laundry to gardening, tech advancements will mean AI inventions will be taking care more than a third of all housework, according to research by pros at Oxford University.
But how will the march of the automatons really affect Scots in the future?
Professor of developmental psychology at Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt Uni and the National Robotarium Thusha Rajendran says progress can only be positive.
Prof Rajendran said: “I think anything that is going to make our lives easier is a great thing.
“If you think about how things have changed for us from using washing machines to fridges, it’s really improved our quality of life.”
And while the academic believes one day the science might be up to scratch, we still need to work out if Scots will really want tech to take over – and how we can learn to trust them.
He said: “We’re really interested in human and robot trust. If it says ‘I’ve cut the grass’ but it’s cut 90 per cent you may have to have an interaction. With a human you’d be able to clarify and ask questions. With a machine, where’s your point of reference?
“How do we understand the mind of this artificial system and how can we get buy-in from the general public? You can make the stuff but if you don’t have people who are accepting of it, and thinking it’s worthwhile in terms of spending money, it may end up as one of those many gadgets we just shove away.”
Whatever happens, Prof Rajendran says change is coming – and fast.
He added: “What the pandemic has done is turbo-boosted this, we have all this connectivity along with the economic drivers to want to get some of these things into our everyday lives. In 10 years time I think the pace of change will be mind-blowing.”
We asked the UK’s leading futurologist Tom Cheesewright goes through all the ways he reckons metal machines will be cleaning up after our mess within 10 years.
THERE have been lots of attempts to automate the boring bits of shopping.
We’ve had washing machines that order for themselves, scales in the cupboard to weigh what’s there and cameras inside your fridge. Even buttons beside the loo to reorder toilet roll.
But in the future, most of us will be wearing smart glasses for much of the day. The cameras on these will feed information to our personal AI assistant, so that it knows when you’re running low on things – wherever they are.
And it will make sure you never run out.
The first you will know of the order is a knock at the door – or more likely an alert that the delivery robot is outside.
ROBO PIERRE WHITE
WE all love the idea of cooking from fresh but it’s not always easy when you’re working and juggling kids.
It’s unlikely robots will be able to prepare a full meal, unless it goes straight in the microwave. But they could take on some of the more time-consuming tasks.
More sophisticated food processors could provide perfect dice, batons or chunks of vegetables just fed with the raw ingredients.
Meanwhile, alongside the extractor fan might be a pair of robot arms.
Pull one down and clamp its gripper around the pan handle, then ‘teach’ the other one to stir the dish with the spoon. When you release it, it will keep going. Et voila, perfect risotto while you sit back with a glass of wine.
SORTING the family’s laundry has to be one of the most boring and time-consuming chores.
But the tiresome tasks might become a thing of the past thanks to tech.
Throw your clean clothes into a smart cupboard and it will steam, sort and fold, returning neat piles of pressed garments for each member of the family.
Right now the closest systems we have to this cost thousands of pounds but, as with all technologies, the price will come down eventually as demand grows and technology advances.
Unfortunately you’ll still have to convince the kids (and lazy adults) to actually put their clothes in the wash and not leave them strewn over their bedroom floor.
GARDENS OF THE GALAXY
FANCY growing your own vegetables but don’t have the time? What about getting a robot that manages your vegetable patch for you?
With the power of computer vision, machines can now ‘see’ very clearly. They can spot weeds amongst the crops and flowers, keeping everything fed and watered properly and pluck ripe fruit and vegetables out of the ground before planting new seeds for the season ahead.
Early prototypes of such devices have already been demonstrated and larger versions are looking likely on farms where staff are in short supply.
But it might be a few years before you can find an AllotmentBot 3000 at your local garden centre.
SOME of the most effective labour-saving tech of the next few years might not come from robotics but materials, chemistry and biology.
As our understanding of the world improves we’re getting better at making things that stay clean, whether it’s sofas, carpets or toilet bowls.
Muck just runs right off, making cleaning easier and less frequent.
Materials have bacteria-killing properties built in, reducing smells and keeping things fresher.
You’ll still need to change your sheets regularly, but people might not be able to tell if you haven’t.
Click Here For More Tech News