Alphabet’s Google is combining the eyes and hands of physical robots with the knowledge and conversational skills of virtual chatbots to help its employees fetch soda and chips from break rooms with ease. From the report: The mechanical waiters shown in action by journalists last week represent a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that paves the way for multi-purpose robots as easy to control as robots that perform single, structured tasks such as vacuuming or standing guard. Google robots are not ready for sale. They perform only a few dozen simple actions, and the company has not yet built into them the “OK, Google” function that consumers are familiar with.
While Google says it’s taking a responsible approach to development, the eventual rollout may stall due to concerns such as robots becoming surveillance machines or being equipped with chat technology that can provide offensive responses. as Meta Platforms and others have experienced in recent years. Microsoft and Amazon conduct comparative research on robots. “It’s going to be a while before we can really get a firm grasp on the direct commercial impact,” said Vincent Vanhook, Google’s senior director of robotics research. When asked to help clean up a spill, Google’s robot recognizes that grabbing a sponge is a feasible and more reasonable response than apologizing for making a mess.