“... you just can't differentiate between a robot and the very best of humans.”
-- Isaac Asimov, I, Robot
Once considered pure science fiction, the tales woven by Isaac Asimov in his famous novel "I, Robot" are fast becoming a reality. Smart technology is becoming the norm in offices and homes across Canada, and year after year, the tasks these tools are capable of performing become more complicated and plentiful. When "I, Robot" was originally published in 1950, Asimov's Law of Robotics was simply a fictional idea written for entertainment purposes. Today, it's helping to shape the ethics of modern intelligence. In celebration of Science Fiction Day, check out these three pieces of office technology that were once considered science fiction.
1. Single-Serve Coffee Makers
Although they may seem simple enough, machines like Keurig and Nespresso were the stuff of fiction as recently as the 1980s. In fact, Asimov himself predicted their existence back in 1964 at the World's Fair while pondering how the world would look 50 years later.
2. Smart Assistants
Smart assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are quickly becoming mainstream in both offices and homes alike. In 2011, IBM set the bar for artificial intelligence when WATSON won a game of "Jeopardy," and smart robotics has continued to evolve ever since. While robots serving humans in every home and office seems like a scene right out of "Total Recall," the reality is that smart assistants are becoming the norm in the office, helping employees to be more efficient and providing Canadians with access to more information than ever before.
Another of Isaac Asimov's 1964 World's Fair predictions was that in 2014, communications would evolve in that we'd not only hear those we speak with on the telephone but also see them. In recent years, services such as Skype and FaceTime, as well as tools like Polycom Real Presence, are helping businesses communicate effectively via video-conferencing. These tools have opened up doors and allowed more Canadian companies to encourage employees to telecommute. They have also kept communications clear and open between companies and office locations throughout Canada.