Robots

Berkeley's two-armed robot hints at a new future for warehouses

A video clip of two robot arms alternately picking items out of a bin.
Berkeley's two-armed robot, seen at 5x speed. Video: Adriel Olmos / UC Berkeley

Pick up a glass of water, then lift a fork: Without thinking, you chose the best way to grasp each object. Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a robot that makes the same calculation, choosing on the fly whether to grab an object with pincers or lift it with a suction cup.

Why it matters: Reliable robot grabbers are the just-out-of-reach holy grail for e-commerce outfits like Amazon and Walmart, who still rely mainly on human hands for the job. Smart picker-uppers would clear a serious bottleneck in shipping and could change the nature of warehouses entirely.

AI expert warns automation could take 40% of jobs by 2035

Delivery robots in restaurants
Delivery robots send dishes to tables in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua/Chen Junqing via Getty Images

40% of the world’s jobs could be done by machines as soon as 15 years from now, one of the world’s foremost experts on artificial intelligence, venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, tells Scott Pelley on the upcoming Jan. 13 edition of "60 Minutes."

What he's saying: "AI will increasingly replace repetitive jobs, not just for blue collar work, but a lot of white collar work. ... Chauffeurs, truck drivers — anyone who does driving for a living — their jobs will be disrupted ... in the 15- to 25-year time frame."

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