Welcome to the Robot Remix Bulletin by Remix Robotics, where we share a summary of the week's need-to-know robotics and automation news.
In today's email -
- Engineer explains sentience claim
- Use hyperautomation in your next investment pitch
- Robotics and sustainability
- Interesting investments
- How to use AI for creativity
Robot firemen - The Delhi Fire Service has inducted two remote-controlled robots to navigate through narrow lanes, reach spaces inaccessible to humans and perform tasks too risky for people.
Why robotics is about to blow up - An interesting blog from the former founder of Starsky Robotics, on why robotics is so hard and why it's about to get a lot easier. Essentially, the robotics industry is like software was in the 1980s — roboticists tend to build everything from scratch. We’re waiting for easy-to-use, common tools that lead to unbundling of the full stack. It's not happened yet, but when it does expect a “tidal wave of value”.
Say ‘hi’ to our new favourite buzzword -Hyperautomation, a fully automated facility nearing Level 5 autonomy. This trend is being driven by accelerating AI, allowing systems to be flexible and easy to automate.
Optimising autonomy - Speaking of autonomous systems, MIT has developed a new general-purpose optimizer that can speed up the design of walking robots, self-driving vehicles, and other autonomous systems.
10 years of Amazon robotics - Amazon released their new autonomous robot Proteus. It didn't blow our socks off, but it's good to see that safety is a key consideration (at least from a marketing perspective). Either way, we enjoyed seeing a summary of their last 10 years in robotics. However you feel about Amazon, you can't deny how much their efforts have accelerated our industry.
Automated battery recycling - Bosch Rexroth has released an animation of their new process for recycling old EV batteries. It still has a fair amount of labour. We’ll forgive them, as it is a very tricky process to fully automate. That said, Remix is sponsoring a research project to do exactly that…
California rejects autonomous tractors - the Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board rejected Monarch's petition to amend the state labour code, which would have allowed autonomous farm machinery to operate without human supervision. The same technology is being used in other states… and the decision has caused a bit of an uproar.
Engineer explains sentience claims - Blake Lemoine had a chance to defend his claims that Google’s AI was sentient. Allegedly, Google blocked him and his colleagues from undertaking the required science to determine sentience and isn't treating AI safety as a significant concern. Lemoine may just be making a point about corporate policy and AI safety rather than fanatically believing that the AI is a person.
The Big Idea
Robotics and Sustainability
In the meantime, we’ll give you a teaser. Nature recently published an article on “Meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) via robotics and autonomous systems”, to summarise -
- Globally 60% of companies are predicted to adopt robotics by 2025
- People are very optimistic about the positive impacts of robotics on SDGs. In particular, it is predicted that robotics will strongly reduce poverty, encourage good health and well-being and support climate action
- Unfortunately, people are still very worried that robotics will have a strong negative impact on inequality and a mixed impact on peace.
Our Deep Dive will cover this topic in a lot more detail, reviewing exactly how robotics can unlock sustainability and the robotics companies who are making this a reality.
P.S - We know we promised a Big Idea on AI alignment in honour of Westworld Season 4 kicking off. To be honest we weren't impressed with the first episode - hopefully it's a slow burner. We promise to cover the topic once we’ve stopped thinking about sustainability!
Audience raised $10M - They use robotic “handwritten” letters for personalised customer outreach. This is very similar to our Xmas cards - we swear we hadn't heard of them! (Founded 2019, $12.8M raised to date)
CloudNC raised $45M - One of our favourite British “hyperautomation” companies, they develop advanced factories to autonomously manufacture precision parts. Check out this short investment trailer. (Founded 2015, $77.8M)
Impossible Mining raised $10.1M - They are building underwater robotic vehicles to mine battery metals responsibly from the seabed. (Founded 2021, $10.1M)
Ocado raised $704.5M - We all know Ocado. The bad news is that Credit Suisse downgrade its valuation due to slower sales of Ocado's warehouse systems. (Founded 2000, $2.5B)
Will AI End Human Creativity?
We’ve talked a lot about AIs and their ability to be creative. This video from a product designer really illustrates how this technology can and will be used to augment human creativity using shoes as a case study. Highlights include -
- Why stock image providers are going to struggle in the future
- How AI Image Generators (ImGens)can be used to accelerate brainstorming & idea validation
- How to work around ImGen's flaws through “prompt engineering”. In the future, creative success will be determined by how well you can describe your vision. Kind of like how good quality research is about how well you can google something. Lots of parallels here.
- Whether AI will reduce jobs in the creative industry or if instead it will lower the barriers to entry and launch a Cambrian explosion of creativity.