The recent decision by Sony to eliminate its robot product lines, the Aibo entertainment robot, and the prototype stage Qrio, certainly pleased its shareholders, and the managers making the decision are still plauding themselves. The resemblance with DEC in its final years is striking. Just as the wind is about to be taken out of its main line of Consumer Electronics products, by alternative systems of product delivery that Sony appears unable to master, a shortsighted Western-style CEO assures that the company will not be part of a forthcoming revolution.
The quickly aging populations (mp3) of our societies–not only first-world ones, which have shown since 10-15 years a total reversal of the population explosion forecasted in the ’60s, but also surprisingly in a wider inclusion those of the Arab world, or China, India, Brazil, and Mexico–are going to require a vast lfurther increase in the evel of services in healthcare. A clear tendency will be that of home-automation, and caring for the elderly at home, instead of hospitals or institutions, and robots are going to be the only way to provide these services.
A new set of robotics companies emerging from the hobbyist markets are going to invest naturally in the progressive development of its products, until, unexpextedly for those being disrupted in their own markets, these will be sufficiently sophisticated to care in a flexible and powerful manner for humans in need.