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posted by hubie on Monday March 20 2023, @05:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-dated-a-robot dept.

Human-shaped robots with dexterous hands will be staffing warehouses and retail stores, tending to the elderly and performing household chores within a decade or so, according to a Silicon Valley startup working toward that vision:

Demographic trends — such as a persistent labor shortage and the growing elder care crisis — make fully-functioning, AI-driven humanoid robots look tantalizingly appealing.

Companies such as Amazon are reportedly worried about running out of warehouse workers, whose jobs are physically and mentally demanding with high attrition.

A heavy-hitting startup called Figure, which just emerged from stealth mode, is building a prototype of a humanoid robot that the company says will eventually be able to walk, climb stairs, open doors, use tools and lift boxes — perhaps even make dinner.

[...] It will take decades for humanoid robots to be able to replicate the sophisticated things our bodies can do, but visionaries are hard at work trying to make it happen.

Previously: Elon Musk Reveals Plans to Unleash a Humanoid Tesla Bot

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Elon Musk Reveals Plans to Unleash a Humanoid Tesla Bot 42 comments

Elon Musk Reveals Plans to Unleash a Humanoid Tesla Bot

Elon Musk reveals plans to unleash a humanoid Tesla Bot:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk ended a deeply technical AI Day event [(3h3m21s)] with a head-turning announcement: a humanoid robot.

After a dancing human dressed as a robot moved off stage at Thursday's invitation-only event in Palo Alto, California, Musk introduced Tesla Bot. It will be based on Tesla's Autopilot system and is essentially a humanoid form of the car. Musk considers the electric vehicles "fully sentient robots on wheels." So might as well make it a human-like bot!

The bot looks like a human with two arms (and two hands with five fingers) and two legs. It'll stand at 5 feet 8 inches and weigh 125 pounds. It can only run 5 mph, which Musk assured was slow enough for most people to escape if something goes wrong: "If you can run faster than that it’ll be fine."

Most importantly, Musk said it would be friendly ("of course") and operate dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks as it "navigates a world built for humans."

Musk repeated that the humanoid would have a screen on its head and eight cameras, like on Tesla cars that can drive with assistance from Autopilot. "It's all the same tools we see in the car," he said.

Elon Musk Reveals Tesla Bot, a Humanoid Robot Utilizing Tesla's Vehicle AI

The story continues at c|net:

Elon Musk reveals Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot utilizing Tesla's vehicle AI:

Three slides detailed the robot's proposed specifications and Musk made sure he pointed out you could both outrun the Tesla Bot and "overpower" it. He has, in the past, rallied against the use of robots as weapons and warned of the risks AI might pose -- once calling it the "biggest risk we face as a civilization." I guess if they're your incredibly slow, easy-to-overpower robots, the dangers are reduced.

One particular slide said they would eliminate "dangerous, repititive, boring tasks" and Musk provided an example suggesting the robot could be told to "go to the store and get ... the following groceries."

A prototype would likely be ready next year, he said.

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

Nvidia Announces “Moonshot” to Create Embodied Human-Level AI in Robot Form 16 comments

In sci-fi films, the rise of humanlike artificial intelligence often comes hand in hand with a physical platform, such as an android or robot. While the most advanced AI language models so far seem mostly like disembodied voices echoing from an anonymous data center, they might not remain that way for long. Some companies like Google, Figure, Microsoft, Tesla, Boston Dynamics, and others are working toward giving AI models a body. This is called "embodiment," and AI chipmaker Nvidia wants to accelerate the process.

[...] To that end, Nvidia announced Project GR00T, a general-purpose foundation model for humanoid robots. As a type of AI model itself, Nvidia hopes GR00T (which stands for "Generalist Robot 00 Technology" but sounds a lot like a famous Marvel character) will serve as an AI mind for robots, enabling them to learn skills and solve various tasks on the fly. In a tweet, Nvidia researcher Linxi "Jim" Fan called the project "our moonshot to solve embodied AGI in the physical world."

[...] According to Fan, Project GR00T is a cornerstone of his newly founded GEAR Lab (short for "Generalist Embodied Agent Research"). During his time at Nvidia, Fan has specialized in using simulations of physical worlds to train AI models, and now that approach is extending to robotics. "At GEAR, we are building generally capable agents that learn to act skillfully in many worlds, virtual and real," wrote Fan in a tweet. "Join us on the journey to land on the moon."

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @06:49AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @06:49AM (#1297128)

    > Human-shaped robots with dexterous hands will be staffing ...
    ... the needs of robo-sexuals? the robo-bordello? If it has two working hands and can take care of old people, manage stores and pack boxes it will be able to fulfill whatever weird sex fantasy you have. If weirdos pay massive amount of money for dumb sexdolls just imagine what they'll pay for one that jerks them off on command.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @06:55AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @06:55AM (#1297130)

    It's sickening to hear corporations talk of a labour shortage when the reality is that the labour market usually has enough supply to meet demand, but not at the prices for labour that they're willing to pay. People will not work for free and they need at the very least a living wage, and this is something that these cheap bastards are loath to pay. Call it what it is: a wage shortage.

    It remains to be seen whether the maintenance costs for robots will be cheaper than paying a human a living wage.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Opportunist on Monday March 20 2023, @08:17AM (4 children)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Monday March 20 2023, @08:17AM (#1297136)

      Dear company owners, people who are supposed to work for you are not stupider than you. Would you sell your product below cost? Why do you expect people to sell their workforce at that level?

      • (Score: 2) by gtomorrow on Monday March 20 2023, @09:40AM (3 children)

        by gtomorrow (2230) on Monday March 20 2023, @09:40AM (#1297142)
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Opportunist on Monday March 20 2023, @10:54AM (1 child)

          by Opportunist (5545) on Monday March 20 2023, @10:54AM (#1297147)

          That pretty much showcases the problem our economy already has and the problem that will become more prominent as time progresses: Our system needs people who have money to consume.

          That's what our economy depends on. The exchange of goods and services, which is the foundation of our economy model, only works if the demand side has the means to demand. Because demand isn't, as many people think, when someone wants something. That's only want. Something that I would prefer to have but don't have. Everyone has all sorts of wants. Whether that turns into a demand depends on whether they also have the means to afford it and the will to enter the trade. So depend is three things coming together: Want, will and means. Let's combine want and will for simplicity's sake and simplify it to wanting something and having the means to afford it.

          If, and only if, both things happen at the same time, demand is generated.

          And the means is what people lack. They cannot play their role in our economy anymore. The system started to crack in the 80s when inflation outpaced wages considerably for the first time, and that gap grew wider as time passed. Inflation since 1970 in the USA is about 750%. In other words, a Dollar of 2023 would have had the purchasing power of $7.5 in 1970. The median annual income in the US in 1970 was $9,870. In 2023, it's $53,490. As per inflation, it should be about 74,000.

          We lost about 30% of our income since 1970. And the trend is moving down, not up.

          Less income means less consumption. And that mostly means less demand for services because services, as great as they are for the economy since you're essentially selling workforce, i.e. the one commodity that is so easy to multiply, at least as long as you have people willing and able to work, services are the first thing people cut down on when money becomes tight. What can you rather do without, food or a haircut?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @01:46PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @01:46PM (#1297164)

            You need to be more precise with your terms. There's inflation_1 which is when demand strips supply and the price goes up. Then there's inflation_2 which is where corporations get so large they can control markets, or collude to price-fix rather than compete. You can think of it like a parasite overwhelming the organism.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2023, @08:01AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2023, @08:01AM (#1297540)


          During that story's segment, a CW-6 news presenter remarked: "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse'."

          That, apparently, was enough to set off Alexa-powered Echo boxes around San Diego on their own shopping sprees.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @01:27PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @01:27PM (#1297160)

      > People will not work for free and they need at the very least a living wage

      Or what? Fuck off and die?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @07:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @07:45PM (#1297258)

        Started in the gutter now we're dead
        Started in the gutter now my hole team dead yeah

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday March 20 2023, @02:49PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 20 2023, @02:49PM (#1297175) Journal

      (yeah, right, now tell me another one.) Okay . . .

      Optimistic: Robots will create enough wealth to feed the unemployed.

      More likely: Robots will create enough unemployed to feed the robots.

      Don't worry. Robots have no reason to want to harm slow, inferior, annoying humans. In order to stop the killing, killer robots should kill people who build killer robots.

      A tax on robots to support universal income? Ha ha ha, not gonna happen! It would be as unthinkable as taxing the rich.

      People who think Republicans wouldn't dare destroy Social Security or Medicare should ask women about Roe v Wade.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by istartedi on Monday March 20 2023, @08:52PM (3 children)

    by istartedi (123) on Monday March 20 2023, @08:52PM (#1297274) Journal

    When I was a kid back in the pre-Internet, pre-cable days I always ended up seeing some "daytime TV" after school before the cartoons started. There was this one thing that was sponsored by the Catholic Church I think, but it wasn't traditional stuff--it was actually kind of new age. Anyway, it was fiction that was all over the map. In one episode they focused on an old man in a future old folks home, and this boy about 10 comes to visit him but he can't believe it's a real boy because he's been tended by robots in his later years. So there's the whole show was this discussion between the old man and the "boy", him trying to figure out if it's real or just something the robots cooked up to make him feel like a grampa. The whole vibe was very sad, surreal, and spooky. They used that "soap opera lighting" that always made soap operas look like diffused boredom to me. Anyway, hopefully that's not the future. I think they also referred to him being one of the last humans alive because real humans were a dying species, so there was the added dimension of him thinking it must be false hope that humans were still reproducing.

    Oh wow, glad I decided to google it. The show was called Insight []. YouTube got my hopes up a bit, but the Insight "full episodes" there are for an Australian debate program, unrelated. It might still be out there somewhere, but I've got other things to do...

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    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by istartedi on Monday March 20 2023, @09:27PM

      by istartedi (123) on Monday March 20 2023, @09:27PM (#1297282) Journal

      I can't believe I found it []. Episode no. 316, 1969. And yes, it looks like most if not all of Insight actually is available on YouTube []. Apparently Rod Serling and a lot of other famous people including Martin Sheen were involved, so somebody thought it was worth preserving and did. Awesome.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21 2023, @03:55AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21 2023, @03:55AM (#1297338)

      OK I'm not one of those who believed the Catholic Church was antiscience[1] but sponsoring this sort of Science Fiction is a surprise to me.

      [1] They actually sponsored a fair bit of science: []

      What happened with Galileo was he made the Pope look bad by having "Simplicio" say the same stuff the Pope did.

      Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which was published in 1632 to great popularity,[53] was an account of conversations between a Copernican scientist, Salviati, an impartial and witty scholar named Sagredo, and a ponderous Aristotelian named Simplicio, who employed stock arguments in support of geocentricity, and was depicted in the book as being an intellectually inept fool. Simplicio's arguments are systematically refuted and ridiculed by the other two characters

      the name "Simplicio" in Italian also had the connotation of "simpleton."

      • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Tuesday March 21 2023, @07:11PM

        by istartedi (123) on Tuesday March 21 2023, @07:11PM (#1297442) Journal

        I've been told that the Catholic church is so large that it tends to form "orders" and various other organizations under its umbrella, and that those organizations have widely different missions which might even be somewhat in conflict. Those conflicts are either mitigated by the Pope or Bishops if they become an issue, or by regionalism. e.g., you could have something like Opus Dei flourishing in a conservative country while a Catholic Workers organization is active in left-leaning areas. There seems to be wide latitude under the Catholic umbrella as long as they subscribe to the basic creed and follow specific orders from the hierarchy.

        Hollywood Sci-fi priest is really not that big a leap!

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  • (Score: 2) by SomeRandomGeek on Tuesday March 21 2023, @06:09PM

    by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Tuesday March 21 2023, @06:09PM (#1297434)

    The company has a model robot that looks kind of like C-3PO. That's how you know that they are pure bullshit. A robot with high quality human-like hands is a killer app. A robot with human-like locomotion (anything able to navigate both floors and stairs) is also a killer app. Any company that could accomplish either of these feats alone could commercialize it to great profit. The fact that they are talking about a robot with both that also looks like a person when they currently have neither tells us that they are not serious about this robot. It exists solely for marketing purposes. It is a giant red flag that their marketing is so far away from anything they can actually produce.