KOCHI: There was always a saying that the era when robots replace humans isn’t far away. Well, it seems the era is almost here. After the IT boom at the start of this millennium, Kerala is now embracing robotics and Artificial Intelligence. The typical example is the ‘Be at Kiwizo’ restaurant at Kannur, where robots serve food to customers.
In Kochi, various robotic training centres have come up and it’s no wonder that they are attended by students as small as 10 years to engineering graduates.
“We give robotics training to students from classes V to XII, engineering students and engineering faculties,” says Shine Sreedhar, co-founder and CTO, Srishti Robotics Technologies Pvt Ltd, Kochi. According to Shine, the focus is more on school children. “Things are hectic during summer vacations. There are around 50 seats in every batch and all of them get filled. Now, we have weekend batches where there are around 20-30 students each who attend the classes regularly,” he adds.
With CBSE planning to include robotics as part of the curriculum, a sea change is imminent. Shine says it is a positive move as students can get practical knowledge at the base level. “We have set up robotics labs at many schools in Kochi. This exposes students to designing, electronics and programming. Social media plays a very important role in promoting robotics in the city. The news of the restaurant has motivated many students to take up robotic courses. They are all excited,” adds Shine.
According to Joshiy, who heads the Kochi office of SP Robotics Maker Lab, children aged between 7 and 9 are the most active participants of such classes.
“The classes are categorised into junior, senior and super senior. The junior category is the most curious and excited. They can barely contain their thrill when their products work. Robotics and artificial intelligence are the future and these children will have good knowledge of these,” he says.
According to Shine, most students face confusion after class XII on which engineering stream to pursue. “Robotics has many divisions like programming, electronic circuits, design and fabrication. Getting exposure to this field at an early age will help students decide their future. If one is good at programming, he/she can pursue computer engineering or if one is an expert at electronic circuits, he/she can take up electronics engineering,” he says.
According to Geethu Sivakumar, CEO of Pace HiTech, jobs which don’t need human intelligence will soon be replaced by robots. “Robots are not only about humanoids, the vending machines and ATM’s are also a part of it. The presence of robotics will be there in every field in five years,” she adds.
Geethu says cities like Kochi will soon have robots serving at restaurants and banks.“Robotic surgery is already popular in Kochi due to its precision. Of course, there will be the surveillance of a doctor, but one need not be surprised if a robot does the surgery on its own in future. Even the customer care of various companies are now automated,” she adds.