Jan 4, 2023

Meet The Roboticist Working To Make Robots Help Us Be More Human

Posted by in categories: life extension, robotics/AI

She cooks, she cleans, and she still finds time to play ball with Elroy,” George and Jane Jetsons’ six-and-a-half-year-old son. Set in the year 2062 and described in the 1960s animated sitcom The Jetsons as an “aluminum-encased, battery-powered robotic maid” who is the “perfect answer for any modern family,” Rosie the Robot takes care of chores around the house while also serving as friend and confidante of mother Jane. Sarcastic and funny, Rosie is a hardworking nanny and aunt figure to children Elroy and Judy.

While many technologies The Jetsons predicted for 2062 have become reality, such as video calls and smart watches, the full realization of robots as the 1960s ideal friend and helper who makes life easier has yet to be fulfilled. For twenty-five years, roboticist Daniel Theobald has been on a mission to create robots that can solve the world’s most pressing problems. But rather than focus solely on making robots be more human, his calling has been to use them to help humans be more human.

The co-founder of Vecna Technologies and Vecna Robotics tells the story of a client who once came to him worried about their aging population. Vecna was one of the only modern robotics companies doing cutting edge work, and they wanted to talk about creating robots to take care of the elderly. Theobald says, “I felt that was completely backwards. Why would we build robots to take care of humans, and send our humans to work in a factory? Robots should be used to do the things that don’t matter. People need real, meaningful work like taking care of each other and the people we love. We should use technology to give us more time to be human, to do more meaningful activities like art, science, caring for the elderly, exploration of the universe, those sorts of things.”

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