Not The 'Bots You're Looking For

There's a moment in Star Wars Episode IV when Obi Wan has to use a special Jedi mind trick to convince a couple of imperial stormtroopers that R2D2 and C3PO, "aren't the droids you're looking for.

In a way, that's how it's going to be with robots in our world in the very near future.

When we hear the word, "robot," most of us get an image of something like Robby from Forbidden PlanetThe Jetsons' maid, Rosie, or Robocop. Humanoids who look more or less like us.

But it's the 21st century and not all robots look like people. Some are designed to look like industrial machines. Others, like animals. Still others, not like anything at all...they're software.

What will it be like to live in a world surrounded by robots? Riding in driverless cars? Working next to a machine that never takes a break? Having your elderly parents cared for by a 'bot that hands our their medications?

For many of us, it's going to take some adjustment. After all, the number of frightening stories about automatons goes back into antiquity. 

And those stories have left impressions...created a mindset towards robots...that I think of as our collective and individual RoboPsych

Gradually, we're going to develop our capacity to interact with robots, to develop relationships with them. Our natural tendency to anthropomorphize and the utility that robots will bring to our lives, will help us to overcome the resistance that many of us will feel towards them.

And, make no mistake: Robots will be challenging and face resistance.

Some of us will find our jobs being done by robots a lot sooner than we might imagine. Who would have predicted just a few year ago that Watson, an IBM software 'bot, could defeat the biggest Jeopardy winner of all time? Or, that machines could cook our hamburgers? Or even perform surgery

Most of us will see our children and even grandchildren far outpacing our ability to use these ingenious systems. 

What will we do?

What will you do?

A question we all will face is: "How will I improve my own RoboPsych, my ability to successfully interact with robots?"

Well, just as you started as a novice when you learned to drive a car and gradually became proficient, you can also develop your robot interaction skillset, your RoboPsych.

That's what is all about.