Robot or Human?
An expert works on Fred, a very lifelike robot. Some scientists think people are more likely to trust robots that look like humans.  

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Rise of the Robots

Machines are starting to look and act more like humans. Is that a good thing?

    Robots aren’t often seen outside the movies. But they have a huge impact on your life. They build the buses you ride to school in. They help pack the clothes you order online. They might even milk the cow that contributes to your breakfast in the morning.

    Now, scientists are working on a new generation of robots. These robots won’t just work in factories or warehouses. They’ll serve you drinks or greet you in a store. They may even teach classes in school or examine you when you’re sick. And they will look, move, and even think like you. Well, sort of. 

    You’ve seen robots in movies. But robots are a part of real life too. In fact, robots have a big impact on your life. They build the school buses you ride. They pack the clothes you order online. They might even milk the cow that contributes to your breakfast.

    Now, scientists are building robots that can do even more. These robots will serve you drinks. They’ll greet you in a store. They may teach your classes. They may even examine you when you’re sick. And they will look and move like you. These robots may even think like you. Well, sort of.  

    We rarely see robots, except in movies. But in reality, these machines have a tremendous impact on your life. They build your school buses and help pack the clothes you buy online. They might even milk the cow that contributes to your breakfast.

    Now, scientists are working on a new generation of robots. These robots will do more than just work in factories or warehouses. They’ll serve you drinks and greet you in a store. They may even teach your classes in school or examine you when you’re sick. And they will look, move, and even think like you—sort of. 

Factory Workers

    Most robots working today aren’t the walking, talking robots you see in science fiction movies. They’re simply machines that perform tasks without human help. Usually they are controlled by a computer. Most of them are used to efficiently carry out simple jobs. They repeat the same task over and over. And they work behind the scenes. 

    The first robot ever to work in a factory is a good example. It was a 2,700-pound metal arm called Unimate. This giant arm helped build cars at General Motors in the 1960s. It picked up hot metal parts and joined them together. 

    Since then, robots have taken over millions of jobs from humans. Farming robots pull up weeds around lettuce plants. A robotic arm called Flippy cooks fast-food burgers. And the truck-like SAM100 helps build walls by laying almost 400 bricks an hour. 

    Most robots working today aren’t like the ones you see in the movies. These robots are just machines. They are controlled by a computer. They do work without help from people. These robots are used to do simple jobs efficiently. They do the same task over and over. And they mostly work behind the scenes. 

    The first robot to work in a factory is a good example of this. It was a metal arm. This robot weighed 2,700 pounds. It was called Unimate. This giant arm helped build cars in the 1960s. It picked up hot metal parts. Then it joined them together. 

    Since then, robots have taken millions of jobs from people. Robots pull up weeds at farms. A robotic arm called Flippy cooks fast-food burgers. And the SAM100 helps build walls. It lays nearly 400 bricks an hour. 

    The majority of robots working today aren’t the walking, talking robots you see in science fiction movies. Instead, they’re just machines that perform tasks without human help. Usually they are controlled by a computer and are used to efficiently carry out simple jobs. They perform repetitive tasks, working behind the scenes. 

    The first robot ever to work in a factory fit that description. It was a 2,700-pound metal arm called Unimate that helped build cars at General Motors in the 1960s. The giant arm picked up hot metal parts and joined them together. 

    Since then, robots have replaced humans in millions of jobs. Farming robots pull up weeds around lettuce plants. Flippy, a robotic arm, cooks fast-food burgers. And SAM100, a truck-like robot, helps build walls by laying almost 400 bricks an hour. 

Walking, Talking Robots

    Robots like Flippy and Unimate have useful skills. But the next generation of robots will make them look simple. 

    In labs around the world, scientists are developing robots with artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is the ability to learn and think like humans do. Some machines can recognize our speech and talk back. Other robots can see by using lasers and cameras. 

    Robots that can see or hear are already doing more complicated tasks. They deliver medicine in hospitals. They measure how well farmers’ crops are growing. And if you shop at a Schnucks grocery store in St. Louis, Missouri, watch out for Tally. This 6-foot-tall robot roams aisles and counts items on the shelves.

    Robots like Flippy and Unimate have useful skills. But the newer robots will make them look simple. 

    Scientists are developing robots with artificial intelligence. That means the robots can learn and think like humans do. Some robots can recognize our speech. They can talk back. Other robots can see. They see using lasers and cameras. 

    Robots that can see or hear have already been put to work. They bring medicine to people in hospitals. They measure crops on farms. Do you shop at a Schnucks grocery store in St. Louis, Missouri? If so, watch out for Tally. It’s a 6-foot-tall robot. It moves around the store. It counts items on the shelves.

    Robots like Unimate, Flippy, and SAM100 have useful skills. However, the next generation of robots will make them look basic. 

    In laboratories around the world, scientists are developing robots with artificial intelligence—the ability to learn and think like humans do. Some machines can recognize our speech and respond. Others see by using lasers and cameras. 

    Robots that can see or hear are already performing more complicated tasks, such as delivering medicine in hospitals and measuring how well farmers’ crops are growing. And if you shop at a Schnucks grocery store in St. Louis, Missouri, watch out for Tally. This 6-foot-tall robot roams the aisles, counting items on the shelves.

Robot or Human?

    Machines aren’t just acting more like us. They’re also looking more and more human. That’s because some scientists believe people are more likely to trust robots that look like them. One British company is making humanlike robots that almost look real. Engineers use tiny motors to control smiles and winks. They make plastic skin with wrinkles and hair. 

    Humanlike robots aren’t exactly walking the streets yet. But you’ll probably see many of them in your lifetime. They already help visitors check in at hotels in Japan. In the future, they may even help care for sick people.

    Robots aren’t just acting like us. They’re also looking more like us. Why? Some scientists say that people are more likely to trust robots that look like people. So a British company is making robots that almost look human. How? Engineers use tiny motors. The motors control smiles. The engineers make plastic skin too. It has wrinkles and hair. 

    Robots that look like humans aren’t very common yet. But you’ll probably see many of them in the future. They already help people check in at hotels in Japan. Soon, they may even help care for sick people.

    In addition to acting like us, machines are also looking more human. Because some scientists believe people are more likely to trust robots that look like humans, one British company is making humanlike robots that almost look real. The company’s engineers use tiny motors to control smiles and winks. They create plastic skin that has wrinkles and hair.

    Humanlike robots aren’t commonplace yet. But in your lifetime, you’ll probably encounter many of them. They already assist visitors with checking in at hotels in Japan. In the future, they may even help care for sick people.

Big Questions

    To many people, the rise of the robots is scary. If we’re sick, can we really get comfort from a machine? Will robots start to replace human contact in our lives? 

    And the biggest question: Will robots put humans out of work? Millions of factory jobs have already been lost to machines. 

    But some experts believe you probably won’t lose your job to a robot. They say you’ll just be working alongside one. The question is, will you know for sure?

    Many people are scared by the rise of the robots. They wonder: Can robots really help us when we are sick? Will robots replace the humans in our lives? 

    And the biggest question: Will robots take our jobs? Millions of factory jobs have already been taken by robots. 

    Some experts say you won’t lose your job to a robot. They say you’ll just work next to one. The question is, how will you know? 

    Many people find the rise of the robots to be scary. If we’re sick, can a machine provide the best comfort? Will robots start to replace human contact in our lives? 

    And the greatest concern: Will robots put humans out of work? Millions of factory jobs have already been lost to machines. 

    However, some experts believe you probably won’t lose your job to a robot. They predict that you’ll simply work alongside one. The question is, will you know for sure?

ACTIVITY: 
5 Questions About
Rise of the Robots

What to do: Answer the questions below. Use full sentences.

What to do: Answer the questions below. Use full sentences.

What to do: Answer the questions below. Use full sentences.

When did robots start working in factories?

When did robots start working in factories?

When did robots start working in factories?

What are three jobs that robots already do?

What are three jobs that robots already do?

What are three jobs that robots already do?

How do engineers make robots look like humans? 

How do engineers make robots look like humans? 

How do engineers make robots look like humans? 

Where do humanlike robots help visitors check into hotels? 

Where do humanlike robots help visitors check into hotels? 

Where do humanlike robots help visitors check into hotels? 

Why are some people worried about robots? 

Why are some people worried about robots? 

Why are some people worried about robots? 

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