As a pandemic grips the world, a person could be forgiven if they had forgotten about another threat to humanity’s way of life – the rise of robots.
For better or worse the robots are going to replace many humans in their jobs, analysts say, and the coronavirus outbreak is speeding up the process.
“People usually say they want a human element to their interactions but Covid-19 has changed that,” says Martin Ford, a futurist who has written about the ways robots will be integrated into the economy in the coming decades.
“[Covid-19] is going to change consumer preference and really open up new opportunities for automation.”
Companies large and small are expanding how they use robots to increase social distancing and reduce the number of staff that have to physically come to work. Robots are also being used to perform roles workers cannot do at home.
Walmart, America’s biggest retailer, is using robots to scrub its floors.
Robots in South Korea have been used to measure temperatures and distribute hand sanitiser.