In the latest FutureScape brief from the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Senior Fellow Robert A. Manning assesses the onset of the era of robotics, one component of a technological transformation that is reshaping the world.

Until very recently, robots have been primarily deployed in automobile factories. But new developments in artificial intelligence, information technology, and sensing devices have put robotics at a tipping point. As was the case with personal computers, robots are poised to become a household consumer item, as prices come down and capabilities improve. Robotics is altering the future of jobs, as well as areas from healthcare to warfare, raising myriad social issues that societies and governments will have to grapple with in the generation ahead.