Humanoid robots thrive on the rise of AI development

Humanoid robots thrive on the rise of AI development

A collateral beneficiary of the breakneck pace of generative artificial intelligence development appears to be the humanoid robot.

A Norwegian company called 1X Technologies, formerly Halodi Robotics, which describes itself as a manufacturer and inventor of androids, recently attracted $23.5 million in a funding round led by the OpenAI Startup Fund – the even OpenAI which rolled the AI ​​snowball with its generative AI robot ChatGPT.

“1X is at the forefront of increasing the workforce through the use of advanced and safe technologies in robotics,” said Brad Lightcap, COO of OpenAI and manager of the OpenAI seed fund, in a communicated. “The OpenAI Startup Fund believes in the approach and impact that 1X can have on the future of work.”

With the funds, 1X announced plans to accelerate development of its NEO bipedal android model and expand manufacturing of its first commercially available wheeled android, EVE, in Norway and North America.

Among the potential uses of EVE are the companionship of the elderly, helping them with household chores, and possibly providing medical care.

The Norwegian company is one of a handful of companies working on packaging AI into human form modeled after Star Wars 3-CPO. They include Boston Dynamics, Hanson Robotics and Engineering Arts, Tesla and Figure.

Figure’s mission is ambitious: to develop versatile humanoids that positively impact humanity and create a better life for future generations. These robots can eliminate the need for dangerous and unwanted jobs, ultimately allowing us to live happier and more useful lives.

Welcome to Westworld

Until now, humanoid robots seemed more likely to be found in science fiction than in society; the recent surge in AI development has changed this perception.

“Generative AI has certainly been an important enabler for the development of humanoid robots,” observed Mark N. Vena, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research.

“For humanoid robots to be perceived as a ‘human,’ generative AI utilities can provide realistic real-time conversational capability in different contexts,” he told TechNewsWorld.

1X partners with OpenAI to create its next bipedal android model NEO. (Image credit: 1X)

Technology seems to have reached a turning point in the development of humanoid robots. “Software and hardware have evolved to the point that human-looking robots will be able to have more natural interactions with people in ways that weren’t possible before,” said Near Media co-founder Greg Sterling. , news, commentary , and analysis site.

“It’s a version of Westworld coming to life,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Generative AI software, along with other technologies, could be used to improve the performance of a humanoid robot, added J. Gerry Purdy, principal analyst at Mobilocity, a mobile consulting firm in Boca Raton, Fla. .

“Researchers could install ChatGPT into the robot’s computer system along with voice recognition and voice generation so that it appears the humanoid robot is intelligent enough,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Ethical issues

Before humanoid robots are accepted by the public, they will have to overcome some challenges that generative AI robots currently face. “Biased and inaccurate responses are real risks,” Vena said.

“A human interacting with the robot in real time may be unable to discern which responses are truly fact-based or the result of a biased algorithm,” he added.

Other challenges can come from the roles the robots find themselves in. “They will be designed to perform specific roles or tasks,” Sterling explained. “Challenges will be domain or task specific, but I suspect most can be overcome.”

Purdy added that understanding and acting on voice commands could also be difficult for an android. “The humanoid brain must be able to list tasks and then have I/O that can understand and perform them,” he said.

“ChatGPT is not so much about actions as it is about talking about the world.” Once humanoid robots begin to enter the general population, ethical issues will also arise. All of the ethical issues associated with AI and GPT apply to humanoid robots, Sterling asserted.

“Some people might be confused by them as well,” he said. “Some might become emotionally attached in caregiver or companion situations.”

“Yet the bigger issue is: how much do we want to deploy robots in what were previously human roles in our society?” He asked.

Where is the work?

The biggest problem with generative AI – and indeed humanoid robots with generative AI implementations – is that the robots will be so realistic in appearance, and the dialogue will be so human that it will incredibly difficult to tell a robot from a human, Vena asserted.

“We already have issues with non-robotic implementations where companies don’t disclose the use of these tools on their websites or the results they produce,” he said.

“At the very least,” he continued, “there must be regulations and requirements put in place that clearly disclose that humanoid robotics, no matter how similar, use generative AI technology to let people know they’re not interacting with a human.”

A long-term ethical problem that society will face as humanoid robots enter the mainstream will be job displacement. A recent report by Goldman Sachs estimated that generative AI could impact up to 300 million jobs worldwide.

“What are people going to do for work?” Purdy asked.

“My life as an industry analyst is not going to be replaced, but many other categories of work can be,” he continued. “We may need to consider some sort of flat basic income so that members of society focus on fun, visiting and talking and going on long trips together to see the world.”

Risky Customer Service Jobs

Figure, however, argues that AI and robots will be needed in the coming years to meet growing labor shortages.

“Today we are witnessing unprecedented labor shortages,” he wrote on his website. “There are over 10 million dangerous or undesirable jobs in the United States alone, and an aging population will only make it increasingly difficult for companies to increase their workforce.”

“As a result,” he continued, “growth in labor supply is expected to stagnate in this century. If we want continued growth, we need more productivity — and that means more automation.

Figure’s humanoid robot, called Figure 01, merges the dexterity of the human form and advanced AI to support industries such as manufacturing, logistics, warehousing and retail.

How soon can we expect to see humanoid robots among us?

“We’re getting closer to when humanoid robots will start showing up in customer service job scenarios,” Vena said. “Fast food workers could be replaced by these types of robots.”

“These types of jobs are high risk, as companies will perceive it as a real tool to mitigate costs,” he noted. “Potentially building security and even private homes could be places where we also see these robots start to appear.”


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