A Robot AI Tour Guide May Take My Job

We’ve been offering bespoke executive briefings and floor tours at CES (and other major trade events) since 1996… but my days as a tour guide may be numbered.

Boston Dynamics has created a robot tour guide using Spot integrated with ChatGPT (and other AI models) as a proof of concept for the robotics applications of foundational models.

The video is both cool and creepy. The (ro)Bot in the demo showcases Visual Question Answering (VQA) models for environmental interaction and Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT for human engagement.

I don’t think the hat or the mustache serve any technical functions, but they do add to the “creep” factor.

In practice, I’m not too worried about losing my job to a prototype of C-3PO. We’re still a few years (maybe a lot of years) away from practical, affordable, general purpose androids, but this proof of concept robot is an awesome first step in that direction.

That said, autonomous mechanical devices with AI-powered communications skills are probably much closer to reality than we think.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it. This work was created with the assistance of various AI models, including but not limited to: GPT-4, Bard, Claude, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and others.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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