Robots used to be imaginary plot points in futuristic movies. Nowadays, they are popping up more often in everyday life.
Restaurants including Boston Pizza, Happy Lamb Hot Pot, Clay Pot Rice, and Chopstix Filipino Restaurant feature robot servers, and the newly opened Space Robo Chicken also boasts robots in the kitchen.
Decathlon opened in Southcentre Mall last year and has more than two dozen robots serving its automated sporting goods warehouse.
The trend is only expected to grow as experts predict the robotic industry will continue to expand by 20 per cent every year.
With that in mind, a Calgary-based company aims to educate people on robots to prepare for a world where they are increasingly common.
Preparing for a future with robots
EZ-Robot was established in Calgary in 2012 and has since taught coding and robotics to more than 25,000 DIYers, educators, and students across the world.
“It’s really a platform that lets people build the robots of their dreams,” says CEO Dennis Kambeitz, adding users can build life-sized humanoid robots, submarine robots, and even machines that shovel snow and dispense drinks.
“We can help people that don’t have robotics or coding experience… gain confidence and skills in that area.”
Kambeitz travels the globe speaking at education conferences, teaches and demonstrates robotics in classrooms, and helps educators understand the inevitable impacts robotics and artificial intelligence will have on the workforce in the coming years.
All industries will be impacted
“Robotics and AI are going to transform all industries. So really, everybody needs to have literacy in these technologies,” Kambeitz says.
“If you understand robotics and AI, you’re advantaged whether you want to be a teacher, a fashion designer, a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, a business manager. If you want to become a high-level roboticist or an AI programmer, that’s a university course, absolutely. But you need this literacy just to be employable in a large number of careers moving forward.”
EZ-Robot aims to get people, especially youth, interested in learning about robotics and AI to prepare them for a future where robots are much more common in the workplace.
“The forecasts say that 20 to 47 per cent of all jobs will be eliminated by technology over the next 10 years,” Kambeitz says.
“In North America, we’re talking about 30 to 65 million people losing their employment. To me, this is an actual genuine crisis, where if we don’t get our kids this education quickly, the implications are huge.”
A permanent paradigm shift
Kambeitz says unlike a recession or the COVID pandemic, job losses due to robotics and AI will be permanent.
“What happens is, the technology comes in, it disrupts an industry, it creates a whole lot of job loss, and when you have a large amount of job loss happening in a short period of time that creates pressures on all aspects of the economy.”
Kambeitz says robotics and AI technology are already present and will keep coming, which paints a picture of the paradigm shift that’s happening in the workplace.
“We’ve got customer service robots coming into stores, touch screen ordering in restaurants, robots that deliver your food, we’ve got robotic chefs, warehouse robots, robots in agriculture,” he adds.
Providing employable skills
High-tech skills will give job-seekers an advantage and make them more employable in every industry in the future, Kambeitz explains.
“I think it’s exciting that there’s a Calgary company that is enhancing the future of children from around the world,” he says, adding he believes they are transforming the lives of children.
Kambeitz says EZ-Robot solves educational challenges and teaches robotics in a hands-on way that appeals to all students.
“It breaks it down so that literally every kid in the class gets an understanding of it. Everybody can learn this the way that we teach it.”
Kambeitz says it’s critically important to embrace high-tech education and put steps in place to create the right environment for the economy and people to flourish.
“We need Alberta to get into this technology as quickly as possible, we need Calgary to get into this technology as quickly as possible because that’s what sets us up for sustained growth and sustained economic prosperity.”
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