OK Google, Give Me a Coke: AI Giant Demos Soda-Retrieving Robots

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 16 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google combines the eyes and arms of physical robots with the knowledge and conversational skills of virtual chatbots to help its employees get soda and chips from the cafeteria with ease. to fetch .

The mechanical waiters, shown in action to reporters last week, embody a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that is paving the way for multi-function robots that are as easy to control as those that perform single, structured tasks like vacuuming or the cleaning. stand guard.

Google robots are not ready for sale. They only perform a few dozen simple actions, and the company hasn’t yet embedded them with the “OK, Google” caller that consumers are familiar with.

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While Google says it’s pursuing responsible development, adoption could eventually stall due to concerns such as robots becoming surveillance machines or equipped with chat technology that can deliver offensive responses, as Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) and others have in recent years. experienced .

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) are doing similar research on robots.

“It will take some time to really understand the direct commercial impact,” said Vincent Vanhoucke, senior director for robotics research at Google.

When asked to clean up a spill, Google’s robot acknowledges that grabbing a sponge is a viable and wiser response than apologizing for causing the mess.

The robots naturally interpret spoken commands, weigh possible actions against their abilities, and plan smaller steps to meet demand.

The chain is made possible by providing the robots with language technology that extracts understanding of the world from Wikipedia, social media and other web pages. Similar AI underpins chatbots or virtual assistants, but has never been applied so extensively to robots before, according to Google.

It disclosed the effort in a research paper in April. The inclusion of more advanced language AI since then boosted the robots’ success on commands to 74% from 61%, according to a company blog post on Tuesday.

Colleague Alphabet subsidiary Everyday Robots designs the robots, which for the time being are limited to packing snacks for employees.

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Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Kenneth Li and Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Paresh Dave

Thomson Reuters

Tech reporter from San Francisco Bay Area for Google and the rest of Alphabet Inc. joined Reuters in 2017 after four years with the Los Angeles Times, focusing on the local tech industry.

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