Robots in Disguise May 11

The Weisswurst and Bavarian Pretzels we had for breakfast were not only delicious, but also essential to getting a true German experience (as I was told). Unfortunately, the cost of having a great breakfast was a long drive to the middle of nowhere to a garage that just-so-happened to sell some amazing German sausages.

If the German students and Sonja were not with us, I guarantee that none of us would have been able to actually consume the Weisswurst. I did not expect the actual process of eating to be so difficult though, but at least I learned a new skill. It was almost surgical having to slice the sausage down the middle – but not all the way through – and then having to scoop the inside out to eat. Good thing no one embarrassed themselves by biting into it and eating the almost-inedible casing. The mustard that was served with the pretzel was great as well. Unfortunately I do no believe local Pittsburgh supermarkets sell mustard quite like it. I guess I will just have to come back to Germany to have it again.

The KUKA visit was basically a glimpse into the future. The brand experience room itself was unique, and getting a chance to play around with robots was enjoyable to say the least. Although seeing robots build robots during the tour was actually more boring than it sounds, I was still very interested in KUKA’s idea of the future and their goals.

I asked one of the hosts a lot of questions about automating manual labor jobs and the like, almost to the point of annoyance for the speaker. His response was that KUKA wants people to not be doing hard manual labor and instead focus on better thinking jobs. Although that is all well and good, I was very conflicted as I thought his answer was too idealistic. Not everyone is interested/is made for wholly intellectual types of jobs. The German education system shows how that is taken into account early on when people are put on certain career paths, some more technical, some hands on, and some more concept based. Robots, although overall very beneficial, are taking livelihoods. Better education and support of other artisan jobs need to be supported more in order to balance the unemployment automation causes. Intellectual jobs are here, and with every new advancement more are available. Training people for these jobs should be more prevalent if everyone is to be included in the robot-future that KUKA has in mind. Not to sound like I am preaching from a pulpit, but that is what I took from that site visit over all of the general technical and futuristic things everyone else learned.

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