What will be the relationship between people and robots in 2030?

By François-Guillaume Derrien.

Robots are one of the two central themes of the third Digital Tech Conference. What will it mean for people and machines to coexist in 2030? This is the question that’s being asked today in Rennes.

How should robots cohabitate with the species that created them? How will robots be helping humans in 2030? Will they eventually copy our actions and replace us? These questions, myths and fantasies are having a profound effect on our society.

Yesterday, on the French Tech Rennes – Saint-Malo site at Rue de la Mabilais, Catherine Salou and Dominique Deuff, ergonomic engineers with Orange Labs, attempted to take apart the imaginings and perceptions we have about robots and evaluate them in the light of tomorrow’s reality.

Their goal: to determine what it will mean for people and robots to coexist in 2030. Over a dozen participants in the third edition of the Digital Tech Conference – communicators, researchers, sales representatives, students and recruiters – were present for this workshop intended for the general public.

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A self-driving car that prepares meals

It’s essential to first make the distinction between robots and cobots. “Robots are heteronomous objects,” the two speakers explained. They complete tasks, on their own, according to a process imposed by an external entity, a human. Cobots, on the other hand, “collaborate” with their creators.

“The notion behind the cobot is a human-machine partnership. Its added value can lie, for example, in an increased precision of tasks carried out by people.” This is the field of “collaborative robotics”, in which robots lose some of their autonomy and submit to humans.

Invited to imagine a scene from everyday life in 2030 via an interaction between robots or cobots and humans, the participants faced off with their imaginations. A clone that can replace you at work, a self-driving car that prepares your meal during your commute, a robot that can watch the children when you’re away…

Using Legos, cardboard, collages and plasticine, they attempted to portray the imagined scene. An opportunity to reflect on the relationship between humans and machines and the latter’s place in our future lives. As well as to confront our perceptions of robots, their appearances, their design. A rich topic that the Digital Tech Conference will dive further into on Friday during the second and final day.

The Digital Tech Conference continues today at the Opéra de Rennes with France’s first-ever robot parade.

Also on the program for the 600 registered participants: keynotes, battles and performances relating to the edition’s two themes, robots and blockchain.


Originally published in Ouest-France “Quelle(s) relation(s) homme-robot en 2030 ?