PHOTO: CNN photo illustration/John General
Now playing
02:11
Robocalls are an epidemic. Here's why there's no quick fix
Now playing
06:25
ABB Robotics president: Our robots work with humans
PHOTO: Hyundai
Now playing
00:51
Watch Hyundai's concept car walk on four legs
PHOTO: Boston Dynamics
Now playing
01:20
Spot the robot's new arm lets it jump rope (and do serious stuff)
PHOTO: Boston Dynamics
Now playing
02:23
These robots can boogie down better than most humans
Now playing
01:00
Disney's new robot has a creepily human gaze
PHOTO: Gary Apodaca/LAFD
Now playing
01:50
Watch the country's first firefighting robot in action
spot robo dog moos pkg 0929
PHOTO: Instagram/kanasavve
spot robo dog moos pkg 0929
Now playing
02:32
Watch robo dog caught on camera out for a walk
PHOTO: Telexistence
Now playing
01:12
See robot stacking shelves in Japan
Tech. Sgt. John Rodiguez, 321st Contingency Response Squadron security team, provides security with a Ghost Robotics Vision 60 prototype at a simulated austere base during the Advanced Battle Management System exercise on Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Sept. 1, 2020. The ABMS is an interconnected battle network - the digital architecture or foundation - which collects, processes and shares data relevant to warfighters in order to make better decisions faster in the kill chain. In order to achieve all-domain superiority, it requires that individual military activities not simply be de-conflicted, but rather integrated -- activities in one domain must enhance the effectiveness of those in another domain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cory D. Payne)
PHOTO: Tech. Sgt. Cory D. Payne/USAF
Tech. Sgt. John Rodiguez, 321st Contingency Response Squadron security team, provides security with a Ghost Robotics Vision 60 prototype at a simulated austere base during the Advanced Battle Management System exercise on Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Sept. 1, 2020. The ABMS is an interconnected battle network - the digital architecture or foundation - which collects, processes and shares data relevant to warfighters in order to make better decisions faster in the kill chain. In order to achieve all-domain superiority, it requires that individual military activities not simply be de-conflicted, but rather integrated -- activities in one domain must enhance the effectiveness of those in another domain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cory D. Payne)
Now playing
01:27
Robot dogs join US Air Force exercise
Now playing
00:53
This coronavirus-killing MIT robot could end up in your local supermarket
PHOTO: Boston Dynamics
Now playing
00:57
Boston Dynamics' 'Spot' robot is finally for sale
Built with multifunctional appendages able to spin wheels that can also be "wiggled" and lifted, the Mini Rover was modeled on a novel NASA rover design and used in the laboratory to develop and test complex locomotion techniques robust enough to help it climb hills composed of granular material, here ordinary beach sand.
PHOTO: Christopher Moore/Georgia Tecch
Built with multifunctional appendages able to spin wheels that can also be "wiggled" and lifted, the Mini Rover was modeled on a novel NASA rover design and used in the laboratory to develop and test complex locomotion techniques robust enough to help it climb hills composed of granular material, here ordinary beach sand.
Now playing
00:56
Watch this NASA rover-inspired robot navigate tricky terrain
PHOTO: Stanford University/Farrin Abbott
Now playing
00:54
Watch robot change its shape like a 'Transformer'
PHOTO: MIT Biomimetic Robotics Lab
Now playing
01:17
Watch these adorable robots frolic in leaves
Ford and Agility Robotics explore how a new robot, Digit, can help get packages to your door efficiently with the help of self-driving vehicles.
PHOTO: Tim LaBarge/Ford
Ford and Agility Robotics explore how a new robot, Digit, can help get packages to your door efficiently with the help of self-driving vehicles.
Now playing
01:25
Ford's new robot can deliver packages to your doorstep
(CNN) —  

Robocalls are flooding cell phones, interrupting dinners, and scamming people out of money. Relief could finally be on the horizon, but perhaps at a cost.

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to give wireless carriers like Verizon the green light to block unwanted robocalls automatically for all customers. The move could curb a torrent of phone-based scams and unwelcome interruptions that have afflicted millions of consumers, said the FCC.

The vote clears the way for carriers to switch on robocall-blocking technologies for phone lines by default. The technology works by using algorithms and network scanning to identify unwanted calls, similar to how email providers scan for spam messages.

Carriers that switch on such technologies will be required to let customers opt out of the programs if they wish and continue receiving all calls.

Americans now receive roughly 5 billion robocalls per month, according to industry research. Robocalls are automated phone calls people receive that often show up on caller ID as nearby phone numbers, or sometimes even their own number. While some robocalls are legal and come from legitimate institutions like banks, schools or medical providers, a vast share come from scammers and foreign sources.

The decision by the FCC will extend robocall protections to consumers who weren’t aware they could sign up for them previously, according to agency chairman Ajit Pai.

“There is one thing in our country today that unites Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, vegetarians and carnivores, Ohio State and Michigan fans: It is that they are sick and tired of being bombarded by unwanted robocalls,” said Pai. “My message to the American people today is simple. We hear you, and we are on your side.”

But questions remain about whether consumers may have to pay for such services, should carriers ultimately activate them.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said he will have “serious concerns” if carriers begin to charge their customers for robocall blocking. Jessica Rosenworcel, another agency commissioner, said she partly objected to Thursday’s decision because it does not require robocall blocking to be provided for free.

“There is nothing here that prevents companies from charging each of us whatever additional fees they want to put this call blocking technology on our line,” Rosenworcel said.