Coming up: Humanoids, body chips
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, listens to a panel discussion.
The time is not too distant when human beings will start having smart chips inside their bodies and robotic eyes to see germs with naked eyes, according to panellists at the World Economic Forum.
Addressing a panel discussion on 'Mapping Transformation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution', Zoltan Istvan, a futurist and libertarian candidate for California governorship, said currently six companies are working on developing robotic eyes whereby people can see much closer with their naked eyes.
"The robotic eye could be placed inside the eye or at the back of the head that will allow you to see germs and poisonous gases in your kids' room. Then, you will have chips inside your body which will contain your medical information. You can also use the chips to switch on and off lights. With that chip, you can open doors by bringing the chip-inserted hand closer to the door which would recognise it and open for you. You also don't have to carry a wallet as the data inside will have your bank details to deduct funds from your account for purchases," he said.
Istvan said no government has regulated this chip until now. But in just two years, he disclosed, the number of people on roads with chips inside their bodies have increased from 10,000 to 40,000.
"I got a chip implanted but it became obsolete in two years and it had to be taken out and I got a new one. It's sophisticated. In the future, there can be sockets in your body where you can put in and pull the chip out of the skin," he told delegates at the forum.
More than 700 delegates from the UAE, US, Europe, Asia and other countries are attending the forum.
Earlier, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Future of the UAE, and Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, World Economic Forum, addressed plenary sessions highlighting the UAE's role in embracing advancements in technologies and the appointment of an Artificial Intelligence minister.
Highlighting the role of robots during the session, Bob Goodson, CEO and founder, Quid, said robots are now a part of daily life and they are increasingly becoming social without bumping into objects and people. In fact, there are some robots embedded with sensors and motors that can jump over hurdles.
"Robots were once used only for dull and difficult work, confined to isolated locations and factory floors. Today, robots are found everywhere, both inside and outside our homes. Some are drones, other are autonomous cars and some are surprisingly realistic humanoids. Now, they are ready to get more social; they are smart enough to move around without bumping into objects and they can mingle with crowds. Embedded with sensors, motors and some of the latest technologies, humanoids can jump over the 'uncanny valley' by convincing us they are really human," Goodson said.
During a question and answer session, he, however, ruled out that there will be a time in the human history where the machines will govern.
Privahini Bradoo, co-founder and CEO, BlueOak Resources, said the enhanced functionalities of advance materials are defining the Fourth Industrial Revolution. "Materials are now able to interact with their surroundings to improve and adapt their performance."
She said some materials respond to light and other forms of electromagnetic waves or heat, translating signals into behaviour. Certain materials can also biodegrade at a specified rate, reducing waste or healing tissues as implants.
In just 10 years, she said the lifecycle of devices has gone down from eight years to 12 months.
"Today, around 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated around the world. In the US, 5 to 10 million tonnes of waste is generated, of which 80 per cent is sent to landfills.
"It is also sent to various parts of the world in China, India and Africa to try to recover residual value of the e-waste. This is creating a significant environmental health issue."