Robots with human touch? Yes, please

Amanda Bullock / January 14,2023

 

Robot has loaned a hand around the house, figuratively speaking. Some can brush off charcoal from a barbecue, others can cut your yard, wash your windows, or clean your pool. Amazon’s Astro follows owners from room to room with their favorite music, delivers snacks to the kids down the hallway, serves as a home security patrol when you’re away, providing safety. mind when you want to check on loved ones, and more.

But by 2023, my prediction is that robots will evolve to take on more human-like roles. They will develop the ability to talk, entertain and even keep their owners company, engage in natural conversation and become an integral part of the home.

Humans have tended to interact with technology as if it were a human being. We assign a name to the robot; We talk about gadgets and apps when we know well that they won’t respond. Even if technology is not designed to play the role of humans, integrating its capabilities into our lives makes us see it as another being. The barrier to continuous, standardized interaction between humans and machines has always been a function of the machines’ ability to realistically interact with us. But that barrier is slowly being broken.

Until recently, conversations with robots were relatively simple. True communication requires understanding the complexities of language and social contexts. Now, however, with the great advances of artificial intelligence through machine learning—where computers process and analyze billions of pages of text, dialogs and arguments, or years of audio, all it takes is… in minutes—machines honed their meaning and meaning. meaning at the human level.

Add in advances in speech-to-text processing and natural language—machine hearing and comprehension—and you’ve assembled the input and output of a conversation: the machine’s ears and dialog. For example, now some language tools can generate answers to questions that are indistinguishable from the answers you would get from a person. As those capabilities spread to home robots, people will see robots evolve into companions who, like a trusted assistant, can provide emotional support or advice —in addition to their functional support. That kind of emotional integration may seem far-fetched, but there is a seductive allure for a machine that generates responses based solely on facts.

Like other big tech changes like flat screen TVs and smartphones, early adopters will pay high fees for the first jailbreak going forward. Devices will still have a lot of work to do, but feedback and testing from the frontrunners will provide a roadmap for product functionality and the best way to reduce costs. In the same way that early astronauts drew public attention to a future where consumer space travel is normalized, I predict that consumers of 2023 will set the stage for the extended terrain of domestic humanoid robots. And one day, in the not-too-distant future, as technology advances and prices become more accessible, robots can truly become useful and enjoyable companions in the home.

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