Most people’s perception of a robot is a replica of a human being on the lines of Star Wars’ R2-D2. But the reality is rather different.
Robotics – the name given to this field of development – has been defined as “a branch of engineering which overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology and bioengineering”.
In layman’s language, this means taking computer power to a new level to replace or augment human intelligence, using machines to relieve humans of routine, repetitive or dangerous tasks, and enabling them to aspire to more fulfilling and potentially better paid roles.
One recent application in the legal field has been to apply artificial intelligence to analyse the enormous volume of ‘Big Data’ which might affect the outcome of litigation. Here, the experience to date indicates an 86% level of accuracy compared with 62.3% for humans.
Some investment funds have been set up to capitalise on the business potential of robotics. But are they suitable for the average investor? The risks are high. The major international IT companies cannot provide a pure robotics play, and much of the innovation will come from smaller and newer companies.
For investors brave enough to enter the market, however, the trick will be to find fund managers who are able to identify the need for which robotics could be the solution