MIT Associate Professor: Why hospitals love robots more than factories

According to MIT Technology Review, robotic colleagues and AI helpers are approaching us, but Julie Shah is not worried about replacing robots with robots, but welcomes them enthusiastically.

Shah is an associate professor at MIT who is committed to making humans and machines a safe and efficient partner. The job took her to the factory floor and the busy hospital where she tried to figure out how automation can make humans more efficient. Shah recently interviewed about the scene we started working with robots:

Q: What do you think is the most common misconception about robots in the workplace?

Shah: People generally think that AI is a very common and powerful ability that can be used in all these different kinds of work. But today’s AI can not be used in such a way.

Currently, every AI system needs to be designed to perform a very specific task, which requires a lot of engineering work. Although the scope of their mandates is expanding, we do not yet have “universal artificial intelligence” and it will replace a great deal of human work. As AI’s capabilities continue to grow, it can accomplish many small tasks in different areas.

Q: In factories and hospitals such places, to achieve the potential of robots how much?

Shah: When you talk about robots getting into more service environments, such as hospitals and office buildings, you find that they have fewer structured environments. Robots need to understand the environment, including personal preferences, when the busiest. It is cumbersome to code all of this.

We are always devoted to developing technology to observe the way professionals work. We observe how nurses make decisions, such as which room the patient is assigned to. Through the observation of human professionals, robots can be trained in learning.

Q: Have you noticed that in different industries, which industries are more susceptible to automation?

Shah: The area of ​​health care does not resist robots. People in manufacturing often feel more skeptical about robotic substitution. Proving that robots will improve human capabilities rather than replace humans may pose daunting challenges.

In the hospital, we studied nurses who served as management roles. They controlled most of the work scheduled in the operating room, such as which wards the patients were assigned and which nurses were assigned to take care of.

Compared with air traffic controllers, the work of these people is much more difficult from a mathematical point of view, but they do not have the same decision-making tools to help them. Nurses have a unique sense of value in their work. They know their work is hard and they feel there is room for improvement, even though they are already very familiar with the work.

Q: Do you think the dialogue between AI and work needs to change?

Shah: I think there’s one thing sometimes lacking in discussion, that is, AI is not a technology beyond our control. We are the designers of AI and how we structure their ability to work with AI.