Boston Dynamics is a company that likes its robots to walk around, either on two legs or four.
Its four-leggers trot around sort of like headless critters that can carry things, and the two-leggers are now doing amazing athletic movements. The most recent flips and hops are quite impressive—check out the video of Atlas:
We may be spoiled by science fiction robots on the late show that perform all sorts of maneuvers with ease. But in the real world, robot gymnastics did not exist a few years ago. In 2015, I reported on the DARPA competition that was organized after Japan’s Fukushima earthquake. The disaster showed what skills are needed in the next generation of robots, where the machines need to perform manual tasks as well as send back images of a situation.
But the results were not entirely satisfactory—in fact, quite a few robots fell flat on their algorithms:
The moral of the story is that robot technology is moving forward like gangbusters. The same bot that can do backflips can also unload a truck or assemble a car without a lunch break. When a machine becomes cheaper at a task than a human, the worker will be laid off.
So continuing to import foreigners to perform low-skilled jobs is a totally wrong economic strategy given the automated future we face.