I agree with Chuck. But the so-called explosion in telecommuting that was supposed to happen in the 90s, and then the 00s, didn't. The problem isn't presence or absence of telepresence robots, or even the communication issues. I think much of it is managers not feeling in control over their employees.
I agree, Cabe. Sometimes I think we need to stop and ask ourselves what our goals are. Is the ultimate goal of technology to improve life - or to make money? We need to find a balance because obviously R&D requires cash flow and hard work and risk deserves to reap the benefits, but if we lose sight of our humanity in the process, than we haven't gained anything.
I don't think enough money is being spent in the area of technology for the disabled. When companies like Apple have $100 billion in surplus cash and spend zero in this area, I am disappointed even further.
I just don't see them as being cost-effective. Working from home with teleconferencing capabilities is so much cheaper and I don't see what you gain from a robotic presence that you wouldn't have with a multimedia one. BUT I LOVED the application for Devon - the boy who couldn't attend school because of his allergies that would cause his personal attendance to be life-threatening. Now THAT is a worthwhile application!
Another relevant issue is the effect on urban expressways. Traffic on big city expressways is growing fast. Telepresence could also have an effect there. At some point in the next 20 years, I think it's going to be a necessity in some quarters.
Charles, I agree. I like the concept of using this technology for the benefit of reducing corporate overhead and personally saving money on commuting. Good way to add dollars back to the paycheck. If telepresence can be used in Distance Education, seems like a win for Work at Home Employees. Nice article Cabe!
If we as a society are really concerned about oil consumption, your idea seems very logical, Ken E. Imagine how much fuel would be saved by keeping half the work force at home and imagine how emissions would be reduced.
If you divide $16,000 by 52 (weeks per year) then 40 (hours per week) you get a number superisingly close to the current minimum wage rate. I actually like this idea. We can replace all the middle managers who really don't know much with minimum wage robots that probably have about the same knowledge. On the other hand why not just replace them (the middle managers) with ex fast food french friers.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.