Two-thirds of Brits expect a robot in every home within 50 years, claims Anki report

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Most UK adults believe there will be a robot in every home within the next 50 years, new research suggests.

A report commissioned by artificial intelligence and robotics company Anki claims that 60% of the UK public believe robots will be deployed as helpers around the house in decades to come.

Entitled The Good Robot, the report suggests many people would use a robot to carry out household tasks such as washing up and tidying but also identified companionship as a positive feature of such devices.

On the subject of interacting with the devices, 16% said they would want a robot to keep them company, with 13% using one to offer companionship to a pet, child or elderly relative.

(Anki)
Anki’s AI-powered companion robot, Vector (Anki)

The rise of virtual assistants built into smartphones, as well as into smart speakers used to control internet-connected appliances around the home, shows many people are already becoming accustomed to interacting with AI and robotics technology, the report says.

Figures suggest ownership of AI-powered smart speakers in the UK has doubled in the last year.

However, the report also highlights lingering concerns around the rise of the technology, with 36% of those surveyed saying they fear such robots could be hacked and turned against humans.

Thirty-one percent said they were worried that robots could cost them their job.

Futurist and The Envisioners chief executive Dave Coplin, who wrote the report, said:

“Despite movies painting a picture of robots as villains, a huge proportion of Brits are open to embracing a life with robots, and are not only looking for utility but also for companionship.

“This report has revealed the numerous benefits that robots can offer us, from helping us with everyday tasks to allowing us to spend more of our time doing the things we love.

“I for one welcome the robots into our lives, not as our overlords or our slaves, but as our companions, working not in competition but in partnership, combining the best of both worlds to create a better future for all of us.

“The rise of the machines may well have already started but it is entirely down to us humans to decide whether this story ends in a Hollywood cliche or the emancipation of the human race.”

Chris Price