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Could we have robots in the home like Channel Four's Humans?

matthew gooding | cambridge news | 7 July 2015

PA Consulting Group’s Simon Burnell, a technology expert, is extensively quoted in an article in Cambridge News about Humans, a British-American science fiction television series. 

The article discusses whether we could potentially live in a world where every home has its own robot which can carry out various household jobs. 

Simon explains: “On one level people already have a lot of robots in their homes – look at vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers and other things like that. Robots are very good at doing repetitive jobs, so to take that further and have something that can take household tasks out of your hands is doable.

“There are always areas where technology can find an application – no one was using tablet computers in 2005, but now we all have one.

“If you consider a sort of Darwinian evolution of robots, you've got lower-level machines like dishwashers at one end of the scale, and robots that could move around autonomously would be right at the other end.”

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Simon goes on to explain some of the benefits of people having robots in their home and places of work: “I could imagine robots providing an extra level of vigilance where it isn't currently available. For example, in a care home you might have a machine that detects that a patient hasn't moved for three hours, and alerts someone to go and check on them. Or to remind staff that another patient hasn't had their medication on time.”

Simon shares an important view on the consequences of having robots as part of our daily lives: “There are questions of social responsibility that would be opened up – who is responsible if something goes wrong with a robot and it causes an accident?

“Those questions will need to be debated and explored, and I think we're a few decades away from seeing these kind of complex machines on the market,” says Simon.

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