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In a science documentary from 1984, which recently began generating buzz online, actor William Shatner discusses recent advances in robotics and the future of the industry.
“The science of designing and building robots, and the productive use of these modern machines, is called robotics,” Shatner says near the start of the video.
Shatner discusses many aspects of the industry that have become commonplace today. He defines social and industrial robots, explains the six axes of motion present on many industrial robots then and today, and even addresses concerns about robots leaving workers without jobs.
“It’s been said that robots today are just about where computers were quite a few years ago. At that time, many were concerned,” Shatner says. “They felt that the rapid rise of the computer would result in mass unemployment. It never happened. And there’s concern today, do these robots post some kind of threat to human employment?”
Shatner emphasizes that robots are intended to do extremely repetitive, dull tasks or ones that are too dangerous for humans to perform.
The video shows off many vintage robots, particularly industrial robots working in the automotive industry, which has historically been one of the biggest drivers of the industry, as well as some welding robots, palletizing robots and even early autonomous mobile robots.