Will Robots Replace Humans

Service Robots

I have been watching some of the new releases from CES. I have been amazed by how many robots are being displayed this year. It reminds me of when computers or TV’s were the hot topics. I am not talking about a robot the sweeps your carpets or even ones that mow your lawn. I am talking about full-fledged service robots. These are robots that interact with people as well as provides a service to the food and hotel industries.

There is a hotel in Japan that is entirely run by robots. As soon as you check into the lobby you are greeted by a robot. There is a robot who will help take your baggage to the room. Then there are robots cleaning the rooms and bringing room service. I guess the only bright spot in all of this is that we will not have to tip the robot for the added services?

Next, I found a restaurant in Japan who are using robots to bring your food to the table, take your orders and even bus the table when you leave. It won’t be long before they are also cooking your food.

These robots from what I have seen stand four feet high, cost $5000.00 each and will last 5 years before needing to be replaced. If they were paying someone $10.00 an hour each year it would cost $20,800.00 for a human worker. Then we have to have human sick days built into that as well as vacations, taxes, and insurance. We can see just on a cost savings why these companies would be doing this. But where does it leave the human race?

We have seen for years where robotic arms do a lot of the manufacturing jobs in the USA. These machines have been putting the working man out of many companies. So with this write up you might think I am somehow excited? Not the case at all. I am really worried about our future generations growing up just to become people who service the robots that will be servicing all of us. Then what happens when the robots can service themselves?

Technology is a great thing. It helps us in our daily lives. And I see it is even good for doing tasks that we don’t want to give time to. But when I see this as a movement to replace us and take all of our jobs I get really worried. I just hope the government is making plans to have some sort of cash flow to give all Americans to allow us to live a normal happy life.

Google Glass

When I was recently away at the technology conference I attended I had a chance to try on a pair of Google Glass.

When you first pick up Glass you will notice that they are a little heavier then they look. I always noticed that they seemed to get a little warm over the right ear, this is due to the battery being located there. The person who was at the table showing them off said this is normal.

Once I had the Google Glass on and started to see the little screen over my right eye I found it to be really difficult to see the screen. You really can’t just look up and see it. You have to allow you eye to wonder up and then you will see what is on the screen. Another issue I have with glass is that it would be nice if you could oder it with the screen over your strong eye. I am left handed so my strong eye is my left eye.

Changing applications is weird. You have to slide your finger over the right steam. As you are sliding your finger you will see the list of applications sliding by on the screen. But you really have to try to keep you right eye looking up towards the top of your eye socket. Once you find the application you want you tap the steam and the app will load.

The one application that was demonstrated could be very useful. You can look at any road sign or maybe a menu written in any language and it will translate it so you can read it in your language.

Would I ever own the Google Glass? Right now I would have to say no. I really think it takes a lot to try to see what you want to look up and I really don’t need a camera taking pictures and movies as I am walking around. Maybe one day if they get better? For now I will stick with using my phone.


Creation or Standardization?

In the vast world that we live in with the fast paced everything how can our children learn to handle change? We want them to handle change and we strive to find ways to get it into their brains. But STOP! Really? This is the talk in many circles but when you get right down to the cold hard facts we don’t want people who can think outside of the box. Anyone read The Maze Runner, read it and see what happens when we allow little people to begin to think on their own.

At this writing there are no cold hard facts; these are my observations in the education world. And it’s not our administration or even our teaching staff. No it is the very government that is trying their best to put a hammer and nail to creation. Creation is not only the building of something, it is really allowing our students to think. Yes “BIG THINKERS” that is not a phase that you hear everyday.

Now for the reality of our lives and our times, Standard Testing for All! “Teach to the test damn it or be removed from the act of teaching!” WHAT? Our teachers teach as I one teacher describes it “I teach to see those little minds churning and really thinking about how to solve something.”  Now let’s hear from a teacher who has to teach for a test, “Yes I teach, it pays the bills and I get summers off, I would like to see the kids learning something new but there just is not enough time.”

Do you know where the and when the standard testing started and even why? Read this quote from Wikipedia.

 The use of standardized testing in the United States is a 20th-century phenomenon with its origins in World War I and the Army Alpha and Beta tests developed by Robert Yerkes and colleagues.[4]

In the United States, the need for the federal government to make meaningful comparisons across a highly de-centralized (locally controlled) public education system has also contributed to the debate about standardized testing, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that required standardized testing in public schools. U.S. Public Law 107-110, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, further ties public school funding to standardized testing.

And so it began in 1965 and then to add injury to insult we had another president come along and make it worse in 2001!

This is a TOP DOWN issue. As I sit in conferences enjoying each session and digging into bringing tech into the classrooms. I have to wonder just how many of these GREAT teachers and administrators will be allowed to go back to their schools and roll it out?

And if your not in education then please call and write your congress men and women and tell them we need true education reform! And once again allow our children to create the NEXT BIG THING!


Technology And Education

Most people that know me and read this blog or follow my podcasts or vidcasts you also know that I work in education as a technology director. With this job I have the pleasure of working with today’s youth as well as some veteran teachers who started in education long before computers.

It is my job to bring the power of technology together with the power of education. Sometimes this is very hard. The kids are fine what ever we toss at them they will use. The teachers at most times seem to want to learn how to use the new technology that we put into their class rooms. Myself and my partner work closely with the teachers to bring the new technology into their lessons.

As much as all of the above is very true, I still feel there is a disconnect or maybe really I should say I feel there needs to be a disconnect from some technology and some education. I also feel that we should not replace a pencil with a pen, or replace a chalk board with a $2,000.00 smart board. This is how it seems technology is being brought into most schools across the states?

We also can not remove certain items just to replace them with technology. “BOOKS!” Working in the school I also have the joy of witnessing students and knowing what they are looking for. We have a lot of students who come to the library and sign out books, and a lot of them. I asked if they would rather have a new ereader and the response I always receive is, “No the books are fine, and we never worry about their batteries.” With that statement I now know that my push for a full tech school has slowed down in certain areas.

Will schools thrive with technology? This really depends on the people teaching the kids changing everything about their lessons. We need to begin to start thinking in the 21st century. But are the kids hurting? I talk to a lot of the students and I really don’t think they are. The truth is colleges are not progressing either. Really old professors = Really old teaching methods!


Is Paper Print Dying Off?

This is a question we get everyday on the job. With all of the digital content floating around and with all of the access to cloud based storage drives, there is a decrease in paper being used. If you want to lower the paper use in your business you need to follow a few simple steps.

  1. Provide all of your office workers with a sharing solution. This will allow them to share, read and edit documents without printing them.
  2. Remove any desktop printers that you have. If you ask your office workers to walk to the printer, you will see a drop in the printing.
  3. Create a central monitored printing area. This could be one office worker that see all of the print jobs.

I really didn’t want this to turn into a lesson on creating a printing plan. I wanted to point out that print on paper is dying off. I have noticed over the years in education there is a lot less printing happening.

The last thought is that we consume the written word in a different way. I know I read my Kindle and IPad more then I ever have a paper, book or even magazines. It is sad I have been reading book for the better part of 47 years, I enjoy them but I don’t get hung up on the smell or the feel of the book. If we hold back we should go back? Remember the wringer washing machine, no one said a word when those went away?


Missing Technology

Sometimes and in some places people prefer not to get involved in the Face Book or Twitter movement. They really prefer just to stay away from the entire technology movement.

Do you ever wonder why anyone would want this kind of life style? I have often been caught saying that I would like to be back in the seventies again. We didn’t have computers or cell phones and we were just fine. What we seemed to have was more of something a lot of people are lacking these days. This is a little something called family. We used to talk with each other in what is today known as RT or real time.

Well there are still groups out there who prefer this life style. We took this past weekend and visited the Amish country. Where things like electric and cars are never talked about. Where there are no home phones let alone cell phones. Where family are still family and each person works with the other. It is not a bad way of life. I do feel that they are cutting their children off from the World but I still think they are fine.

I am in no means saying you can not have family and technology. We still eat at the dinner table every night with our teenage and young adult children. It allows us time to chat about their days and their lives. And when we are at the table there are NO CELL PHONES allowed. Even mine and my wives are placed some where other then the kitchen.

Today’s thought, sometimes you need to set your power switch to off.


Light Scribe Pen

If you are looking for something to help your student at home from Elementary to College then this pen is just what you are looking for. Shop around for the best price here is a link for the pen on Amazon just a little over $100.00.

This pen allows you to take notes on a special paper table and then it will convert it to typed text. It also allows yo record audio. This is great when the teacher or professor is giving a lecture, you can record every word.

It also allows you to create drawings on the paper pad and it gets transferred wirelessly to your computer, smart phone or digital tablet.

This is just one of those great little devices that allow your student or you to capture voice and recorded thoughts and store it in digital format. Anything we can buy to help with our daily thoughts and store those is worth looking at.

Light Scribe Pen