And they’ll be teaching our kids soon, too…

Dubai is a city on the forefront of global innovation, bagging awards left, right and centre for its work in pushing forward advances in the fields of technology and science.

The latest such accolade has, however, been bestowed not on any institution or person, but instead on one of the city’s robots.

The android in question is a robot customs inspector designed by Dubai Customs that was awarded the title of the “World’s Big Idea 2016” by an international jury at the World Idea Awards in Frankfurt, Germany at the end of March.

Commenting on the award win, Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said: “It’s no stranger to Dubai Customs to innovate and come up with new winning ideas within its efforts and journey to facilitate trade and movement of cargo and passengers.”

The first of its kind in the world, the robot is programmed to do a number of tasks including thermal scanning, face recognition, luggage tracking, and body language reading. It is also equipped with tracking and inspection tech to help it complete simple inspection tasks.

Won’t someone think of the children?!

Actually, it turns out someone is. According to a report last month, robots might soon be helping out in classrooms sooner than we think.

Technology-based learning solutions company, ATLAB announced that its TeachAssist robot will be rolling out to classrooms across the UAE by the end of 2017.

Designed primarily as an assistant, the humanoid robot can manage a number of useful tasks such as taking student attendance, guiding visitors around schools, and even acting as a librarian, helping manage book lending and location.

S Senthil Kugan, Director of ATLAB said of the initiative, “The software being developed using the open source platform will be customised to each school. A classroom will be transformed into a student-centric space with an aim to provide one-on-one assistance.”

While the jury’s still out on just how useful these robots will be in the classroom – and if they’ll command the respect of a flesh and blood human teacher – it’s clear that Dubai is once again setting a global example for how it thinks the future of technology is shaping up to be.

Will your high-powered marketing agency job be replaced by an android preloaded with a ‘creative solutions’ algorithm? We don’t know.

One thing’s for sure: we welcome our new publishing robot overlords with open arms and hope they let us keep our jobs for at least a little while longer.

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Image Credit: Dubai Customs