While the world has braced against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last few weeks, there has also been a global shift in the way that we think about ourselves as humans. We have had to come face to face with not only our mortality, and with our frailty, but also with our ability to provide care and comfort and to teach one another. Doctors in every country are working hard to keep their patients alive. With schools closing, committed teachers are finding new ways to continue to educate their students. We have seen groups organize themselves to bring essential supplies and comfort to the most vulnerable people in their communities, and many people come together to sing on their porches and balconies,  just to make their neighbors happy. This is where humanity raises its beautiful head. These are the essential human skills and services that society needs right now. For everything else, there is robotics.

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Integrating robotics into our workplaces is not about ripping people off. If the last few weeks have shown us anything, it is how precious human life is, and how we will do anything to conserve it. By integrating robotics into manufacturing processes and advancing Industry 4.0 technologies, we sustain the respect that this pandemic has taught us for human life.

The recent mass self-isolation of workers has created a seismic shift in our societies, and it is one for which Industry 4.0 has almost been waiting. It is essential to recognize that the changes we are seeing are indeed a shift: we have not eliminated workers, they have moved to a different arena. The focus for many people now is on those around them: their families, their neighbors, their health, the education of their children. Coronavirus has brought us back to mankind’s most human traits and created the conditions in which we glimpse a world where people do people-focused work: human jobs for humans.

Robotics will not be replacing human workers in factories- they are filling the void that humans have left. While companies have had to protect their workers, at the same time, they have also faced the imperative of business with maintaining continuity and consistency in their production lines. Rather than choosing between exposing humans to the dangers of the Coronavirus in the workplace, or risking severe harm to their balance sheets, technology offers an alternative solution for businesses in these unprecedented times.

AI-based robotic workers can provide services that are essential to businesses. Turmoil in the markets and in economies can be avoided if the world can remain supplied and if we bring some level of certainty and stability back into the business. Technology has always been a tool human have wielded to create solutions to problems we could not solve with our bare hands: the knife for cutting what we could not tear, the steam engine for moving faster than we could run, and now robotics for continuing production at workplaces we cannot enter.

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We have already seen significant development in the interest of corporates around the world in the security and continuity that robotics can offer them. In our company, Musashi AI, we have seen a massive surge in interest from businesses seeking to fill the gaps left on the factory floor by their workers who are in self-isolation. The changes that will invite robotics into the workplace are already happening around us. The future is here, and we must be ready to meet it with open arms.