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The robot dog Spot, which has been given work on a Norwegian oil platform, is attracting attention in a number of countries. Behind it is a technological development that is going faster than most predicted.

The robot dog Spot will walk around and smell, listen and see what is happening on the oil platform Skarv 210 kilometers out into the Norwegian Sea. The dog arrives at places on the platform that are difficult to access.

And unlike humans, it never gets tired.

They never get tired. They have a greater ability to adapt and collect data, said Kjetel Digre in Aker BP to the news agency Bloomberg.

Short commercial for Spot from Boston Dynamics, Youtube.

This week, the robot dog was shown at a PR event in Oslo under the auspices of Kjell Inge Røkkes Aker BP, who is the operator of the Skarv field.

Since then, the story of Spot, which will guard a Norwegian oil platform, has spread around the world, including in China, India and the USA.

Behind it is a technological development that is now going faster than previously estimated.

Spot keeps watch, Ada processes applications
The robot dog Spot, which was developed by the company Boston Dynamics, is one of many examples of how automation is entering Norwegian working life.

In the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, the robot Ada is already in the process of making automated decisions. After having computer problems with the new application forms, the UDI’s computers are now ready to start processing, for example, citizenship applications automatically.

In Norwegian grocery stores, more and more employees are being replaced by self-service checkouts. The profession of stockbrokers is far from being replaced by calculation programs, which work faster and more precisely.

The picture is a screenshot from the launch of the robot dog Spot this autumn. The robot is supplied by the company Boston Dynamics. Boston Dymanics

The four-legged robot dog Spot was presented as one of several robots and drones that Aker BP will test on the Skarv field.

The robot systems will make offshore operations safer, more efficient and more sustainable, writes Aker BP in the presentation of its new employee. For oil and offshore companies around the world, this will be crucial in the competition to cut costs in the coming years.

How many jobs will Spot and other robots take?
One third of Norwegian jobs may be lost until 2030, estimated a report made for the Ministry of Education in 2015. In the autumn, the Technology Council concluded that every third job in Norway will be affected by the development.

Professions such as stockbrokers, telemarketers, accountants, shop workers and office workers would with between 97 and 99 percent probability be digitized away, according to the Norwegian and Finnish researchers.

On the other hand, ever-lower unemployment shows that fears that robots will take people’s jobs have been exaggerated, according to the World Bank.

And a report from the OECD estimates that only 5.7 per cent of jobs in Norway will disappear, while 25.7 per cent of jobs will be significantly changed.

The figures may indicate that Norwegian working life is already so efficient that far fewer jobs are at risk compared with other OECD countries.

The robot dog Spot has got a job – on a Norwegian oil platform. The robot is made by Boston Dynamics, and will be used by the operator Aker BP on the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea. Boston Dynamics

Smells gas leak and listens for machine faults
The robot dog Spot has sensors and cameras, which, among other things, can detect gas leaks or approaches to fire.

It can also hear what sounds machines and equipment on the platform make. The data that Spot collects can be analyzed to discover if something is wrong, writes Tek.no and Computerworld.

A popular video made when the robot was launched this autumn, shows how Spot has learned to open doors by pulling down the handle, and quickly put a paw in the door crack.

When the magazine Verge tested the robot dog in September, the journalists were told to stay two meters away so as not to be hit, for example if it should stumble on stairs.

For the time being, the robot dog will only operate in environments where there are no other people.

«But if that platform takes off, Spot could show a new way for computer programs to interact in the physical world. This can have a huge impact on both technology and society in general. The process is just getting started «, writes Verge.