As the annual RoboBusiness conference approaches, it’s imperative to keep track of developments around the world! This week, we look at job fears in Germany, U.S. AI competitiveness, and foiling an old-fashioned burglary of cutting-edge tech.
Robotics Business Review has partnered with me to bring you this week’s roundup of global developments in automation and geopolitics. Are you ready to be updated?
Robotics companies to blame for automation?
John Cryan, the CEO of Deutsche Bank, has rung the alarm bells on automation. During a speech at a conference, Cryan said that because of technology, the bank “won’t need as many people.” He went on to say that a “big number” of people will be replaced by robotics and AI.
His comments contradict those of other observers who have said that robots are in fact not taking jobs. Ultimately, there will be displacements, if not as fast as some warn. Could the banking industry be more at risk than manufacturing?
Nonetheless, as this trend continues, it will force enterprises to rethink their employment expectations and governments to debate how they want to use robotics and AI competitiveness to generate wealth. It will also put increasing pressure on robotics companies, which may be seen as the culprits for large-scale job losses.
U.S. builds its strength as Russia warns on AI
IBM and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently made a mammoth AI partnership. Over the next 10 years, IBM will invest $240 million into an MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab for research and development.
While IBM and MIT are private organizations, their partnership is part of an effort to strengthen America’s AI competitiveness. And it comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin warns that the country that leads AI will “rule” the world.
UAE shows off robotics capabilities
Dubai has launched a new government facility called “Service 1” that will offer more than 100 government services all through a single employee — an AI. The entire facility is staffed by IBM Watson, and the facility is expected to make accessing government services faster and more efficient.
Service 1 is the latest in a growing list of robotics achievements for the United Arab Emirates. Other notable achievements include trials of self-driving taxi drones this past summer and calling for 25% of all police officers to be robots by 2030.
This also points to another geopolitical play. The fact that Service 1 is using IBM Watson suggests that the U.S. is using AI competitiveness as one tool to maintain its influence in the Middle East.
Self-driving policies gain traction
While Germany works on the world’s first ethics rules for driverless vehicles, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the SELF DRIVE Act, which is a regulatory framework to govern self-driving cars.
One of the main parts of the bill is that it gives the federal government, not individual states, control over self-driving cars. This includes rules such as whether autonomous vehicles need design features such as steering wheels.
Also included in the bill is an area dedicated to data privacy and collection, although the bill leaves the solution up to the car companies.
The SELF DRIVE Act is important not just that it’s one of the few pieces of legislation regarding robotics to pass in the U.S., but because it is one of the few self-driving frameworks in the entire world.
Other nations, especially those with similar cultures and economies, such as the U.K. or Canada, may copy or adopt parts of the regulations. As with China proposing to outlaw gasoline-powered cars, the U.S. might be setting self-driving laws not just for itself, but also for the entire world.
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More on Robotics and AI Competitiveness:
- Cyber Security, Robotics on RoboBusiness Speaker’s Agenda
- MITRE’s Charlene Stokes Talks About Her Human-Machine Research, Defense Robotics, RoboBusiness
- Robotics, AI Fears to Improve Security Policy; Controlling Robotics Investments
- International Robotics Rivalries Intensify Amid Calls for Jobs Policies
- Robotics Companies Must Develop a ‘GeoRobotics’ Strategy
- Russian and Chinese Robotics Follows Energy Pacts
U.S., Canada, China all connected to robotics theft
A dual citizen of Canada and China has been charged with intellectual property theft in the U.S. after he was caught in the offices of Raynham, Mass.-based Medrobotics Corp. while allegedly trying to acquire trade secrets.
The foiled theft comes as headlines warn that the U.S. and China are in an AI and robotics “arms race.” Some industry observers have claimed that if Beijing is directing state-owned firms to invest in Western robotics companies, they could become vulnerable.
Intellectual property theft is a concern for and potential hindrance to international trade. However, no information has been available as to whether the suspect planned to share the trade secrets with the Chinese government.