Rise of Robots in the Post-Pandemic World
• COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to crisis and a new normal where the world is still
trying to embrace the old normal that we left behind almost a year ago.
• The new normal is embracing digital transformation which is both disruptive and
transformative and has defined new norms of living from highly networked, interactive
and collaborative to compartmentalized, isolated and decentralized social architecture.
• Better approach would be to create the transition in future with web of human-
machine-robot interfaces. However, this transition presents an opportunity in disguise of
a deeper challenge on the socialism of robot-human(cobot) interaction, which would
require qualitative aspects of humanism, ethics and values embedded in these
• This will be possible through supervised and human assisted and network robotics to
control the activities.
• COVID-19 crisis has led to realization about ultra-transcendental meditation and
community work to protect the social impact loneliness, loss of near and dear ones,
working from home leading to sub-urban habitats rather than concrete Jungles.
• This has led to new normal to look at life and its priorities,
• To Quote Dr. Sam Pitroda “during Covid-19 only two things matter: people and planet”
A new post-pandemic paradigm for robotics
• Applications in highly-developed countries with declining populations, such as
• The purpose of robotics is to reduce costs and replace expensive human
• Can we use robotics to protect human workers, even if it means increasing
• Can we use robotics to create new jobs and opportunities for
entrepreneurship, not only for those who lost employment in the pandemic,
but others as well?
• Can we use robotics to break existing barriers to human creativity?
A holistic post-COVID perspective
• When the COVID-19 crisis hit, society was in a reactive mode, and
adopted an emergency-short term perspective, and blindly adopted
the first-available digital alternative, such as e-commerce, to continue
• In the post-COVID world, society must adopt a more long-term,
more holistic thought process.
• Can we use human-robot collaboration to overcome depression and
isolation caused by quarantine and social distancing, and promote more
holistic forms of post-pandemic human interaction?
• Can we leverage robotics to facilitate and promote micro-entrepreneurship,
local markets, and small businesses?
Types of Robots
Three Types of Robots
• Industrial Robots: Manufacturing, Assembly, Sanitization
• Service/Professional Robots: Retail, Health-Care, E-commerce, Waste-
• Software Robots: Finance, Human-Resources, Procurement, Contactless Transfers
Three Modes of Control
• Fully Autonomous – controlled by some form of Artifical Intelligence
• Human-Controlled – controlled (remotely) by a human
• Human-Robot Collaboration – hybrid of AI and (remote) human supervision.
Human assisted supervised robotics: Need of
the post-pandemic world
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Robotic interfaces with
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of Humans and Robots
• Dan Mote’s (University of Maryland) comments after visiting DEI:
Obvious, but Essential, Post-Pandemic
Applications of Robotics
• How can we use robotics and human-robot collaboration to create a
robust maintenance network for essential human activity? By
including the following:
• An Uninterrupted Supply Chain,
• Food Security,
• Energy Security,
• Environmental Management: Decontamination, Disinfection and Disposal,
• Disaster and Hazard Management,
• Healthcare: (including assembly of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), UV
disinfectants, and other healthcare equipment),
• Security and Surveillance Infrastructure and
• Civic participation and preservation of an uninterrupted democratic process.
A science of user-interfaces
• Ultimately, information theory and Ashby’s law of requisite variety
place limits on human control systems.
• Can we utilize Artificial Intelligence to develop control systems for
humans to supervise robots, via hand gestures, eye-movements,
and controllers, that are as intuitive as possible?
• Translate the latest technology in prosthetics, to develop novel user-
interfaces for controlling robots.
A hybrid of AI and human remote supervision
• White-collar workers – IT workers, consultants and others – now work from home
around the world. Can we use robotics to allow truck drivers, factory workers,
and even essential services to work from home?
• Can we use a hybrid of traditional artificial intelligence (AI) with remote-human-
supervision to control robots? Will this allow us to deploy robots immediately
rather than wait for advances in AI?
• In the pre-pandemic world, remote-controlled-robots presented no economic
advantages for most applications. But remote-controlled-robots may present
many economic advantages over a complete or partial-lockdown.
• Supply Chain Example: Although self-driving trucks are gaining popularity, there
may be severe limitations to AI in the near future. Instead of waiting for self-
driving trucks, can we develop remote-controlled trucks driven by real human
truck-drivers who stay safe at home? Or, can self-driven trucks be supervised by
human-truck-drivers remotely to reduce risks of accidents?
Breaking Barriers of Creativity through Human-
• Robots possess: Strength, Precision and Speed
• Humans possess: Ingenuity, Judgement and Dexterity
• How can we develop technology to facilitate human-robot
collaboration to effectively combine both robotic and human
qualities, thereby breaking through existing barriers for human
• Robots for performing arts and visual arts: How can we most
effectively combine human creativity with robotic technical skill to
create new music and art, including live robotic performances?
Post-COVID-19 Scenario and Robotics
• Health care with integrated medicine practioners believing in role of technology ,
ultra-transcendental meditation, and human values.
• During pandemic it became clear that minimalism and environmental issues,
and regeneration of wild life were possible. Such practices should continue
without overdoing automation.
• New definition of robotics should include autonomous system with values and
ethics and belief in human supervised mode of network based operations.
• Community living with cobots for improving living standards and condition in co-
operative and collaborative mode.
• Emotional instability during pandemic can also be addressed using above
• In summary, combine robotics with the human touch for higher order