Hubo the robot meets the rich and influential

IDG News Service | Jan 19, 2016

At the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday, the DARPA-winning Hubo robot impressed attendees with its moves. Its presence highlights a future question for the global economy.

What do Leonardo DiCaprio and this robot have in common?

The World Economic Forum is holding its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, and some the world’s top economists, politicians and business people are there.

US Vice President Joe Biden’s promoting the fight against cancer and Leonardo DiCaprio got an award for work on climate change.

And then there’s DRC HUBO

Developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, it’s at Davos to show off its skills.

HUBO earned an invite after beat 28 teams to win the 2015 DARPA Challenge and a $2 million prize.

It can walk, kneel and drive on two wheels, but slowly.

Despite the speed it’s still pretty advanced for a humanoid robot. When researchers develop them, they often focus on their role in disaster response, because robots can get into places too unsafe for humans, but robots also pose a larger question for the world economy.

What happens when they get sophisticated enough to begin replace humans in all types of jobs?

At the conference, Swiss Bank UBS launched a report that said the rich will benefit most from robots, just for that reason. Less humans mean higher profit margins.

The economic brains at Davos might ponder that as they watch the demo. Or maybe not.

Also Monday, a call to science education from musician, who was receiving an award .

"I want kids to dream to be Steve Jobs not just Stevie Wonder. I want kids to dream to be like Bill Gates. I want them to discipline and dedicate their lives to solving the world's problems."

Davos continues all week. Major tech attendees including Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Eric Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg and GM’s Mary Barra.