Robotics

What Matters 2020

What matters for 2020 and beyond

Illustrated collage of a political demonstration overlaid with newspaper clippings, with a big red exclamation point cut out of the center
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

We plan to take a wholly different approach to the 2020 election by focusing on the critical trends that are certain to outlive the moment.

Why it matters: Election coverage is too often myopic and maniacally focused on the daily churn of dust-ups and distractions. Toss in social media, and the emotionalism of the moment, and it’s easy to lose sight of the tectonic shifts unfolding in real time.

Teaching robots to see — and understand

Illustration of an eye chart made up of ones and zeros
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Machine vision is a crucial missing link holding back the robotization of industries like manufacturing and shipping. But even as that field advances rapidly, there's a larger hurdle that still blocks widespread automation — machine understanding.

Why it matters: Up against a shortage of workers, those sectors stand to benefit hugely from automation. But the people working in warehouses and factories could find their jobs changed or eliminated if vision technology sees new breakthroughs.