In the Errol Morris documentary Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, robotic scientist Rodney Brooks predicted a future where sensors and robots would be pervasive, and people could simply tell a door to open. That was 1997.
Brooks’ prognostication has now come to pass. Voice control and the Internet of Things are here. Robots, or “artificial creatures” as he sometimes has called them, are growing ever more intelligent.
Thanks to Brooks and the companies he’s founded, robots go to work on a daily basis alongside people in our homes and on our factory floors. If you care about robots, at all, Brooks — the entrepreneur, MIT professor and author — is no doubt a familiar name to you. If not, here’s a recap of some of his more commercial achievements: He co-founded a company called iRobot that created the vacuum-cleaning Roomba robot and military robots used to disarm explosives; he also started Rethink Robotics, whose newest Sawyer robots are used to do “dull, dirty and dangerous” tasks in manufacturing, leaving people to more interesting work that’s less likely to physically hurt them.
Brooks’ companies aren’t the only ones focusing on making robots smarter, safer and more collaborative with people and each other. But his work has inspired generations of robotics engineers, and helped them find a path to success outside of academia and defense.
Brooks will be joining us onstage at Disrupt NY. We’ll ask him what it will take to make the robots of science fiction into reality, how he thinks robotics will make the greatest impact on humanity in his lifetime and more.
Check out the agenda here.
You can still get tickets to Disrupt NY, which takes place at Manhattan’s Pier 36 May 15-17. See you there!
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