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Big Picture Science

Move over Room­ba. Café robots are the lat­est in adorable automa­tion. And they may be more than a fad. As robots and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence enter the work­force, they could serve up more than machine-made mac­chi­a­to. Dig­i­tal work­ers are in train­ing to do a wide vari­ety jobs. Will humans be hand­ed the moth­er of all pink slips?

We sip lattes in a robot café and con­tem­plate the future of work. Some say the work­place will have more machines than peo­ple, while oth­ers main­tain that A.I. will aug­ment, not replace, human workers.

Mean­while, future intel­li­gent automa­tion may not come from Sil­i­con Val­ley. Why Chi­na wants to become the glob­al cen­ter for A.I.

Plus, NASA’s first bipedal humanoid robot — Valkyrie, a pro­to­type of a con­struc­tion work­er for use on Mars — teach­es us that mov­ing like a human is not as easy as it looks.