By Andy Choi
President Obama has announced a $70 million initiative to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or co-operatively with people. The proposal has been called the National Robotics Initiative and is backed by a number of government run agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
While speaking at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center Friday he joked that one of his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief is to keep an eye on robots and that he was pleased to report that the robots the university manufactured seemed peaceful.
The initiative is part of a wider effort by the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership to research breakthrough technologies. The other agencies involved include colleges, universities, corporations and private industry groups. They have backed the government’s $70 million with $500 million of their own to fund the research project.
The end goal of the initiative is not too clear at this point. It is not known if the ultimate agenda is to integrate robots in to consumer lifestyles or just accelerate the use of robotic technology in industrial areas. the National Science Foundation hopes that the initiative can give them methods for establishing and infusing robots into educational curricula and research to gain a better understanding of the long term social, behavioral and economic implications of co-robots across all areas of human activity.