Agility Robotics, a company that specializes in humanoid robots, announced that they will soon be capable of producing 10,000 bipedal humanoid robots per year. During an interview with its CEO and CTO at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, they claimed that their robots are actually creating jobs instead of taking them away from humans. The design of their robot, called Digit, is based on parameters from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) handbook, which allows it to move easily through environments designed for humans.
In addition to arms and legs, Agility Robotics decided to give Digit a pair of eyes, not for vision but for communication purposes. The eyes help give the robot a sense of direction and enable it to communicate with humans more effectively. The robot is capable of carrying approximately 35 pounds and reaching a height of about 4.5 feet. While it can reach higher, the company designed Digit to accommodate the requirements of warehouses, where humans generally do not need to pick up boxes from heights above their heads.
Furthermore, Agility Robotics joined other companies in the robotics industry to write an open letter expressing their stance against weaponizing general-purpose robots. They emphasized the importance of ensuring that robots do not harm people intentionally or unintentionally in order for the industry to genuinely improve the quality of life. To ensure this, Agility Robotics includes clauses in user agreements that prohibit the deployment of their robots in any manner that can cause harm, making it clear that the robots are not designed to threaten or hurt people.
Contrary to the common belief that robots will replace human jobs, Agility Robotics argues that their robots do not take away employment opportunities but actually fill the existing job gaps. They highlighted the fact that there is a shortage of people willing to work in logistics and manufacturing, leaving millions of positions unfilled. In their experience, deploying robots has not led to job replacement but instead has helped bridge the gap in the workforce. This is especially important as the workforce is aging and manual labor jobs are becoming less desirable.