Digit drew a crowd, even here, in a convention center full of robot aficionados.
A humanoid warehouse worker, Digit walked upright on goatlike legs and grabbed bins off a shelf with muscular arms made from aerospace-grade aluminum. It then placed the boxes on an assembly line and walked back to the shelf to search for more. The crowd, which had assembled at ProMat, the premier trade show for the manufacturing and supply chain industry, held up phones and watched, a little quiet, wondering if at some point the robot would teeter and fall. It did not.
Digit, made by Oregon-based Agility Robotics, is the kind of technology that people have worried about for generations: a machine with the strength and adroitness to rival our own, and the ability to take our jobs, or much worse. Then ChatGPT came online, and suddenly the fear was of something smarter rather than stronger — malevolent bots rather than metallic brutes.
The automaton is still coming. It might not be ready to take over the Amazon warehouse yet, but the long-anticipated robot revolution has begun, accelerated in large part by the pandemic and the thunderous growth of e-commerce. Machines like Digit are ready to take over a vast swath of physical labor, from operating forklifts to doing the laundry.
From The New York Times
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