Essay by ol_smurf August 2006

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Robot, generally known as a reprogrammable multifunctional manipulator with one or more arms making motions like human, is one of the largest growing technological devices in the world today. With abilities to carry out a variety of functions ranging from space exploration to entertainment, humans have start developing and utilizing robots in the construction industry. As with most advanced technologies, robots have their own shortcomings. As such, this essay will explore the disadvantages of utilizing robots in the construction field and its future potential, given that the short-comings are solved.

To begin with, given the well-documented benefits of robots in various literatures (............), the presence of robots and mechanization in construction industry do bring disadvantages to the industry. According to Virk (1997:103), 'working robots' do have fundamental problems when they need to operate in an unstructured environment. These concerns arise when mobile robots are introduced into environments where people also work.

Since robots are being programmed and are computerized, they have inability to make independent decisions on construction sites. As a result, the robot may obey incorrect instructions or fail because of malfunction, and may thereby cause damage to itself, nearby equipment or even injury to other workforce. Hence, it can be seen that the mishandling of both robots and mechanization in construction industry will eventually affect the outcome of a particular construction site.....increase accidents.

Furthermore, robots also have negative social effects in the construction industry as many sees them as taking away jobs from human (Rooks, 2002:517). Robots are often portrayed to be more durable, faster, efficient and cheaper 'workers' (Groppe, 2000: 98) resulting in an increase in the use of robots in the industries. As a result of the increase in demand of robots in the workplace, it will have a massive impact to the unemployment rate.