Next Nature

Opening HUBOT at DDW

The robots have arrived! Yesterday we celebrated the launch of HUBOT, job agency for people and robots at MediaMarkt, as part of the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. Our virtual office had opened a week before the physical launch, and the applicants were pouring in from all over the world. Now it was time to welcome job-seeking futurists to the offline opening of our office, this entailed drinks, jobs… and robots! 

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Office Garden

HUBOT: Meet the Focused Assembly Worker

As a focused assembly worker, you are a real go-getter thanks to your smart tools. Wearing smart factory goggles and using a transparent LED screen, these give you direct instructions to your work at the right time. Check multiple production lines at once and keep a tight overview of your working schedule; nothing is too challenging for this type of assembly work. The factory workers of tomorrow are smarter, more flexible and need no one to tell them what to do.

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ants
Hypernature

Lazy Worker Ants

When looking at a crowded street from far above, it’s easy to make the comparison between humans and ants and think “we’re just like ants, aren’t we?”. Swarming around, running from place to place: we can be quite busy creatures. Although there are some crucial differences between us and them, ants can give us some interesting insights into our own systems, by showing us theirs.

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Next Nature

Robotization Makes Work More Human

The Robots are coming! They keep getting smarter, more reliable, and more affordable. They work 24 hours a day and never get sick. It’s no surprise that some are proclaiming that robotisation and artificial intelligence (AI) will eliminate jobs. In 2014 Oxford scientists calculated 47% of the current jobs could be automated by 2034, due to robotisation and AI.  Last year accounting and consulting firm Deloitte calculated 42% of the students at vocational high schools were still being trained to do these endangered jobs. Imagine being 16 years and discovering you’re studying for a job that soon won’t exist. What kind of future is that?

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In Silico Farming
Food Technology

Farming in Silico

Agriculture has been with us since the dawn of civilization, and since then all kinds of machinery have helped make the process physically easier. But farming is more than just manual labor. For many farmers, the hard part is not planting and harvesting, but knowing when, where and how to plant in order to get the best yield. Thankfully, there’s an app for that too: growing crops in silico – on a computer screen.

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Suburban Utopia

The Robots Are Coming!

Robots are getting stronger and smarter every day. How long will I have my job before a robot steals it? And they’re taking over our families, our houses, our cars… basically, our whole lives. Visions of the future in which people are dominated by superior machines have always been with us. Sometimes they turn us into human livestock; in other scenarios, our appliances actively try to exterminate us. Though Hollywood movies usually depict robots as metal people, the reality is more subtle than that.

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Rights for Robots
Wild Systems

Rights for Robots: EU Calls for Regulation

The science of robotics is a swiftly advancing field. We are inching ever closer to artificial intelligence and robot workforce. But do we really know how and where robots fit into our lives? Are robots tools, coworkers, or friends? And will this change in the future? A new report from the EU’s legal affairs committee recommends that we clarify the legal status of robots sooner rather than later. It even suggests that they could be given a form of personhood and rights.

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horsepower
Suburban Utopia

After Horsepower Comes Robotpower?

We fear being replaced by robots. They have the potential to be smarter, stronger and more hardworking than us. Yet, one could say that horses are bigger, faster and tougher than humans, and still no-one outside of “Gulliver’s Travels” fears being replaced by horses. Instead, we note these useful qualities in horses and quite literally harness them for our own advantage.

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