I regularly read technology blogs. In so doing I get the feeling that robotics is making huge progress currently. Robots seemed always slow and limited in their functionality. Now they are starting to look more sophisticated and for some people even intimidating. Here are 2 examples:
The mechatronics look impressive, yet the robots are still unintelligent. To further enhance the service system of robots, it could be connected with a service system of powerful computing power such as IBM Watson.
But even with super computers robots would remain specialized in their functionality in some degree, because engineers have to program all the routines necessary for the actions of the robot, such as opening doors or driving a car.
Therefore robots are not yet T-shaped. They are experts in doing something but do not have the capability to use their knowhow outside of their area of expertise. My guess is that it will take a couple of more years or even decades for the engineers to program multi-functional robots.
One could argue that multi-functional robots will still not be T-shaped because T-shapeness requires real intelligence and the capability to learn. To solve this, scientists do research about artificial intelligence. But nobody really knows what will happen when robots become smart. Robots could then become either T-shaped or T-erminators.
Guest Editor (AH)