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"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
Learn English in February

Monday Night Owls - 9 October 2017 - Making robots accessible

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,132 Teacher
edited October 2017 in Technology and Games
We read an article about a company which is trying to make robots available to everyone:


Vocabulary Top 10:

up front - used to refer to money that is paid in advance

prowess - great ability or skill

duopoly - a situation in which two suppliers dominate the market for a commodity or service

hindsight - the knowledge and understanding that you have about an event only after it has happened

roadblock - something that stops progress

foreseeable - to be able to see or become aware of (something that has not yet happened)

go downhill - becoming worse or less successful

havoc - a situation in which there is much destruction or confusion

hindered - made slow or difficult by something

hesitant - slow to act or speak especially because you are nervous or unsure about what to do : feeling or showing hesitation

Do you think it´s possible to make a cheap robot that can be used in manufacturing without taking people´s jobs?
Post edited by NatashaT on


  • Shiny03Shiny03 Posts: 2,885 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @NatashaT You are right I don't have much more to say about this article, because I roughly agree with it. On the other hand, I have so many things to say about that article, distressed clothing.

    I have a question. Could you please help me with it? Maybe you have already told us, then, sorry for that.:(
    In the article, the author used the word, formidable in two different sentences.
    As a show of architectural prowess it was formidable,....
    Unfortunately the structure was equally formidable as a manufacturing challenge.

    I remember you said formidable in the first sentence was like impressive. (in a positive way?) But in the second sentence, does formidable mean causing us to have fear for something. (negative?) Why were they afraid of the structure of that towering steel mushroom like building? Because they failed and couldn't make robotic arms to fold those aluminium panels accurately in less time than human did? Therefore, it's like we fear for manufacturing challenge, because we think robots are going to take our place and let us lose our job? Thank you so much.
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,132 Teacher
    @Shiny03 Of course I can help with your question!

    Maybe a better way to think about ´formidable´ is like ´very powerful or strong´, or ´deserving serious attention and respect´. When you think of it this way, it can be either positive or negative - something that makes you impressed or afraid, depending on what it is.

    They weren´t really saying they were afraid here though - formidable in this sentence is more like ´very difficult to deal with´. So this part is saying that the building was impressive architecturally, but constructing it was going to be extremely difficult.

    Originally, they thought that these difficulties could be resolved by using robots to fold the panels, but then they realised that it wouldn´t really help, since humans could do it better and faster. I think this was actually an example showing that robots, at the moment, aren´t actually capable of replacing our jobs!
  • saraalsaraal Posts: 79 ✭✭✭
    @NatashaT yes I think it could be, but they will not replace all position!
    As now manufacturers are using technology that was working by people, i think they need who will repair and develop robot, moreover it could be for checking the quality of end product.
  • Shiny03Shiny03 Posts: 2,885 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Thank you so much @NatashaT . You're such a genius. It's very easy to understand through your explanation. :heart:

    I went to a welding exhibition in 2016.
    Here is the video. (Sorry I couldn't find it in English.) This exhibition was interesting, because it didn't just show how they used robots in welding, bonding, cutting,etc. in various industries, but tried to tell us the inheritance and use of traditional techniques. (They didn't tell us to abandon human resources!) You can see in the video there are lots of robots (specifically those are robotic arms.) It seems that many companies are trying to make their own robotic arms. That's why I have a doubt about what it said in the article that to make real robots are very expensive, so many companies are passive in that.:/ By the way, did you notice that guys talked a lot today? Is it because guys are good at machines/robots or have more interest in it than women? :smiley:

  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm wondering what the future working place is going to be like, once the robots would have made it to entirely replace humans: an unmanned, better saying, undermanned place.
    An aseptic floor, swarming with robots of any size: quite an eye-popping futuristic scenario.
    Tabletop articulated arms, with at the end an attachment able to mimic the most disparate tools.
    Caged squat cockroaches are juggling with several items at a time; you would keep watching at them with a mix of repulsion and awe. Finally, you'd think, they'll end up swallowing down the pieces, but it's not the case. On the conveyer-belt at the opposite site, the pieces have already been assembled and bound for the next step.
    Anthropomorphized giant robots are already catching your attention nearby; 3-D vision praying mantises headed machines are waving incessantly their slender over-articulated arms to grasp, whisk, whirl and finally present, at the other side, the exact piece needed for the assembly line to keep working.
    At the first floor, there are just a few humans supervising the all process from behind glass panels.
    Wearing white coats, these skilled engineers just look complacent at their creatures, which have relieved them of all those tedious, repetitive, dull work.
    When something appears not to work the way it should, they just frown imperceptibly, and freeze the robot by pressing one button on their controlling board.
    At the end of the day, though, they feel like they are lacking something: the sweat.
    Therefore, they take off the white coat, put on the gym suit, mount on the exercise machines, and quite making robots of themselves, put in motion all their atrophied muscles and joints.

    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
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