Public Domain. Source: NASA
That’s what I think about when I think about the robotics innovations that are poised to change our lives: drones, driverless cars, virtual assistants. These technologies are built around things we already know pretty well: cars, helicopters, and our smartphones. But by adding sophisticated software, they are about to make a big difference in the world.
Take driverless cars. I had a personal driver once, and it was great. I temporarily couldn’t drive because of a bicycle accident, so my employer hired someone to drive and type for me. I could read and talk on the phone, though. It was great to just get into the car and tell my driver where to take me. She figured out how to get there, while I concentrated on my work.
That’s what many corporate managers already have: personal assistants to take care of minor issues, while they focus on the big stuff. In the future, just having a smartphone could mean you have something to help you manage your life. It’s already easier to remember where you parked at the airport. And advances in programming make all this innovation cheaper, because once it’s coded, the marginal cost of distributing software is close to zero.
The hardware’s been around. Improvements in software are changing the way we live. The future is already here. It just isn’t evenly distributed.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Charter Trust Company
“The Best Trust Company in New England”