What is robotics?

The goal of robotics is to create process-focused intelligent automation, incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Robotics encompasses both robotic process automation (RPA), i.e. the automation of virtual or clerical processes using software “taskbots,” and robotic automation of physical tasks.

The aim is to replace humans in a variety of repetitive, rule-based, or dangerous tasks. These tasks can refer to business processes like employee onboarding or processing accounts payable, or physical tasks like lifting heavy loads, inventory management, or entering dangerous environments. Although the aim is to substitute human effort on a task level, at the job level the goal is more to augment human performance, a concept known as “human-in-the-loop.”

The intent is to make human workers more efficient, safer, and more engaged by automating part of the work. An example of this would be employing a machine-learning system, like Watson, to read radiological images and make recommendations to a human radiologist, who manually reviews complex cases and signs off on the final determination.

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