Humanoid robots appear to be a collateral beneficiary of the feverish pace of generative artificial intelligence development.

A Norwegian company called 1X Technologies, formerly Halodi Robotics, which describes itself as the creator and inventor of Android, recently attracted $23.5 million in a funding round led by the OpenAI Startup Fund – The same OpenAI that got the AI ​​snowball rolling with its ChatGPT. Generative AI Bot.

“1X is at the forefront of enhancing labor through the use of safe, advanced technologies in robotics,” Brad Lightkapp, COO of OpenAI and manager of the OpenAI Startup Fund, said in a statement. “The OpenAI Startup Fund believes in the vision and impact that 1X can have on the future of work.”

With the funding, 1X said it intended to accelerate development of its bipedal android model NEO and expand manufacturing of its first commercially available wheel-based android, EVE, into Norway and North America.

Potential uses of EVE include providing companionship for older adults, assisting them with tasks around the home, and possibly providing medical care.

The Norwegian company is one of a handful of firms working on packaging AI into human form along the lines of Star Wars 3-CPO. These include Boston Dynamics, Hanson Robotics & Engineering Arts, Tesla and Figma.

FIGHTER’s mission is ambitious: to develop general-purpose humanoids that make a positive impact on humanity and create a better life for generations to come. These robots could eliminate the need for insecure and unwanted jobs – ultimately allowing us to live happier, more purposeful lives.

welcome to westworld

Until now, humanoid robots were more likely to be found in science fiction than in society; The recent boom in the development of AI has changed that perception.

“Generative AI has certainly been a key enabling element for the development of humanoid robots,” said Mark N. Vena, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research.

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

NEO Humanoid Robot

1X is partnering with OpenAI to create the NEO, its upcoming bipedal Android model. (Image credit: 1X)

It appears that technology has reached a tipping point in the development of humanoid robots. “Software and hardware have advanced to the point that human-looking robots will be able to interact more naturally with people in ways that weren’t possible before,” said Greg Sterling, co-founder of Near Media. , and analysis website.

“It’s a version of Westworld coming into existence,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Principal analyst at Mobilocity, a mobile advisory firm in Boca Raton, Fla., J.J. Gerry Purdy said that generative AI software, along with other techniques, could be used to enhance the performance of humanoid robots.

“The researchers could install ChatGPT into the robot’s computer system, along with voice recognition and voice generation, to make it seem like the humanoid robot was smart enough,” he told TechNewsWorld.

ethical issues

Before humanoid robots gain public acceptance, they must overcome some of the same challenges that generative AI bots are facing right now. “Biased, inaccurate responses are a real risk,” Vena said.

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

Other challenges may stem from the roles in which robots find themselves. “They will be engineered to perform specific roles or tasks,” Sterling explained. “The challenges will be domain or task-specific, but I suspect most can be overcome.”

Purdy said that understanding and executing spoken commands can also be challenging for the android. “The humanoid brain needs to be able to create a list of tasks and then have I/O that can understand them and carry them out,” he said.

“ChatGPT isn’t so much about tasks as it is about conversations about the world.” Once humanoid robots begin to enter the general population, ethical issues begin to arise as well. All of the ethical issues associated with AI and GPT apply to humanoid robots, Sterling maintained.

“Some people may even be confused by him,” he added. “Some caregivers or companions may become emotionally attached to situations.”

“Yet the bigger issue is: how much do we want to deploy robots in 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 lifelike from an appearance point of view, and the interactions so human, that it will be incredibly difficult to distinguish one robot from another. . Human, said Vena.

“We already have issues with non-robotic implementations where companies are not disclosing on their websites the use of these tools or the output they produce,” he said.

“At the very least,” he continued, “there is a need to establish regulations and requirements that clearly disclose humanoid robotics, no matter how lifelike, are using generative AI technology so that Let people know they’re not having a conversation with someone. Human.”

One long-term ethical issue facing society will be job displacement as humanoid robots enter the mainstream. A recent report by Goldman Sachs estimated that generative AI could affect 300 million jobs worldwide.

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

“My life as an industry analyst is not going to change, but many other classes of work might,” he continued. “We may have to consider some sort of uniform basic income so that people in society can have wonderful trips together to enjoy, move around and talk and see the world.”

Customer Service Jobs Are at Risk

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

“Today, we are witnessing unprecedented labor shortages,” it wrote on its website. “There are more than 10 million unsecured or unwanted jobs in the US alone, and an aging population will make it difficult for companies to grow their workforce.”

“As a result,” it continued, “labor supply growth is set to flatline this century. If we want continued growth, we need more productivity – and that means more automation.”

The humanoid robot from Fig, called Fig 01, blends the dexterity of the human form and cutting-edge AI to aid industries including manufacturing, logistics, warehousing and retail.

How soon can we expect to see humanoid robots in our midst?

“We’re getting very close to the point when humanoid robots will start appearing in customer service job scenarios,” Vena said. “Employees in fast food restaurants could be replaced by these types of robots.”

“These types of jobs are at high risk, as companies will see this as a real tool to reduce costs,” he said. “Potentially security in buildings and even private homes could be a place where we see these robots start to appear as well.”

Many companies face a difficult balancing act between an uncertain economic environment through early 2023 and the significant advantage they retain thanks to competitive innovation. New technologies such as Web3, blockchain, machine learning, and artificial intelligence continue to evolve the work ethic, making that job more challenging.

Cory Hymel, vice president of product at Gigster, an enterprise software development services firm, keeps a close eye on technology trends that help evolve the distributed work model in the tech workplace. Gigster’s fully managed software provides a way for businesses to unleash human cloud-powered innovation on a global scale.

An advocate for flattening out-of-date hierarchical structures within organizations, Hymel predicts that 2023 will see rapid change in the tech industry. He sees the adoption of democratizing power levels from the ground up as a way to better survive the malaise of the ongoing pandemic.

In line with this thinking, Gigster recently expanded its service offerings to help customers better meet complex business challenges. It will release eight new offerings in phases this year to enhance its risk-reducing pricing model and on-demand team assembly approach.

“The new services can make a big difference in helping companies move forward at higher levels of quality and speed,” Hymel told TechNewsWorld.

democratization of technology

Technology democratization, in a broad sense, is the process of making access to technology more accessible to more people. New technologies and improved user experiences empower people outside the tech industry to make better use of products and services.

A narrower segment, data democratization, is when an organization makes data accessible to all employees and stakeholders. This approach involves educating users on how to work with data, regardless of their technical background.

The concept became mainstream among software developers several years ago. It expanded because traditional software development has been unable to meet the growing demands of automation and new applications in all areas of business.

“The democratization of software development enables business and domain professionals to be actively involved in the software development process. The process automates sections of the code through a low-code tool or platform, which can be used as a tool or platform,” Hymel told TechNewsWorld. meaning that only a limited amount of technical capability is required.

dry developer pool

Democratized software developers engage with business domain experts to actively participate in the development process. This collaboration is aided by using an approach that automates large portions of the code. The bottom line is simple: less technical expertise is required.

One of the main drivers of this democratization demand is the current shortage of expert developer talent, Hymel said. The shortage of skilled code writers forced organizations to adopt software democratization processes.

Businesses that do so can simplify processes that increase usability and broaden the scope of practical applications. These low-code processes enable firms to efficiently address software development technical issues.

It also helps in rolling out more IT-based applications to drive revenue growth or give a competitive edge. By extension, they become more agile in responding to market demands and changes.

add human cloud

Cory Hymel, Vice President of Product at Gigster
Corey Hymel, Vice President of Product at Gigster

Democratizing software connects to the notion of plugging into an evolving human cloud. The concept envisions interconnectivity with all online platforms creating a productivity maze for individual workers.

“With most developers moving their software engineers to the cloud, we will likely see the end of the era of monolithic applications,” Hymel predicted.

He democratized software development by creating a distributed application environment through the human cloud, replacing the need for serial processing with multiple threads and parallel processes. The result allows for greater scalability and increases transaction speed.

“Human cloud platforms have transitioned from being primarily used for data storage to an essential part of a software developer’s toolbox. Embracing them helps companies democratize software development and deployment from being continuously integrated,” Hymel explained.

Cloud platforms facilitate remote working and enable developers and companies to combine development and operations instead of waiting to build a perfect program in the first test.

integrated collaborative working

Distributed work models go beyond the concept of remote teams. They involve teams of workers spread across different geographic locations, often operating without physical offices.

According to Himmel, the idea includes workers performing their jobs from different physical locations and time zones. Team members are driven by a core philosophy of pursuing common goals through integrated collaboration.

“Since there are no physical barriers, the distributed work model, if managed properly, facilitates greater flexibility and adaptability and opens up companies to a much larger talent pool,” he said.

The model thrives through clear communication that sets expectations for each team member. Thus, everyone feels connected and working towards the same common goal.

innovation accelerator

Organizations constantly look for ways to accelerate product development in order to achieve, maintain or improve quality. Hymel said their investment in time and resources doesn’t always lead to meaningful performance improvement.

“Next generation enterprise application development cycles are very short in the ever-evolving technology world. Companies whose leaders rely solely on internally leveraged innovative tools to achieve digital innovation can take longer and use more resources,” he said.

When asked what differentiates his company’s approach from other platforms, Hymel replied that Gigster’s managed software development platform provides technology and a distributed, global team to fast-track product development and provide greater velocity. Uses up. The firm’s experts also work with companies to determine the innovations that will have the most significant impact and can be achieved with the organization’s resources in mind.

balancing the pros and cons

The two most notable benefits of the distributed working model are cost-effectiveness and employee efficiency, which can help companies recognize direct and indirect savings.

The distributed work model enables firms to reduce the headquarters footprint or open satellite offices in regions where operating costs are lower, facilitating 24-hour workflow by having workers in different time zones.

“Organizations can drive away skilled talent from traditionally competitive and expensive locations or engage on-demand experts by moving apps to the cloud, in addition to reducing IT-related costs,” he explained.

According to Hymel, some of the key challenges to the model include workplace threats such as cyberattacks and access control.

Businesses must pay close attention to external threats and comply with different security, compliance and tax laws depending on the location of their employees.

“In addition, managing distributed teams is a unique challenge for which not all organizations and managers are equipped,” he cautioned.

managing technical downturn

Tech companies that have traditionally had bullet-proof reputations are now using ongoing hiring freezes and layoffs. This situation points to the bitter truth of the pinch of the current global economic shutdown.

As a result, according to Hymel, the tech companies that enjoyed profitability the longest are grappling with geopolitical pressures and rising costs. As markets move from growth to profits, tech company valuations crash, financial institutions become more cautious and a recession seems inevitable.

“Therefore, tech companies are downsizing their workforce, believing that this is the only way out of the crisis,” he said.

Transitioning to a Tech-Smart System

To avoid further bearish pitfalls, Hymel recommends tech companies, in particular, be prepared to gravitate around disruption to avoid being caught off-guard. Organizations must be flexible enough to experiment with emerging innovations as they prepare to thrive through the upcoming upheavals.

“Strategic investment in the right technology and service offerings can help firms stay afloat until the market booms,” he predicted.

Replacing traditional methodologies with investments in digital systems, tools and capabilities can help maintain workflows. Furthermore, increasing distributed or remote capabilities and introducing intelligent software systems for automation in fintech and logistics can help firms avoid disruption as a result of market changes.

Nvidia announced significant updates to its Isaac SIM robotics simulation tool at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Tuesday.

The Isaac SDK is the first open-source robotic AI development platform with simulation, navigation and manipulation. Developing partners use software tools to build and test virtual robots in realistic environments under various operating conditions. Now accessible from the cloud, Isaac SIM is built on Nvidia Omniverse, a platform for building and managing Metaverse applications.

The demand for intelligent robots is increasing as more industries adopt automation to address supply chain challenges and labor force shortages. According to ABI Research, the installed base of industrial and commercial robots will grow more than 6.4 times from 3.1 million in 2020 to 20 million in 2030.

According to Gerard Andrews, product marketing manager for Nvidia’s robotics developer community, developing, validating and deploying these new AI-based robots requires simulation technology that places them in realistic scenarios.

Isaac Sim enables roboticists to import the robot model of their choice and fully utilize its software stack to create a realistic environment to validate the physical design of the robot and ensure performance. Users can generate synthetic datasets during simulations to train the robot’s AI models that are used in the robot’s perception system. Researchers can take advantage of the Reinforcement Learning API to train models in the robot’s control stack.

The latest version focuses on improving performance and functionality for manufacturing and logistics robotics use cases. The software now supports adding people and complex conveyor systems to the simulation environment, and more assets and popular robots are pre-integrated to reduce simulation lead times.

release highlights

Robotic Operating System (ROS) developers find support for ROS 2 Humble and Windows. Robotics researchers gain many new capabilities aimed at advancing reinforcement learning, collaborative robot programming, and robot learning.

Systems improvements focus on the needs of humans working with collaborative robots (cobots) or autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Isaac Sim’s new people simulation capabilities add normal human-like behaviors to the simulation.

For example, developers can now add human characters to simulations of a warehouse or manufacturing facility, tasked with performing common behaviors such as stacking packages or pushing carts. Many of the most common behaviors are already supported using commands.

To reduce the difference between the results observed in the real world versus the simulated world, physically accurate sensor models are essential. Nvidia’s RTX technology enables the Isaac SIM to render physically accurate data from sensors in real time. Ray tracing with greater speed and accurate sensor data under different lighting conditions or in response to reflective materials, in the case of RTX-simulated LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).

More tools for robotic researchers

Isaac Sim also provides a number of new simulation-ready 3D assets critical to creating physically accurate simulated environments. According to Nvidia, everything from warehouse parts to popular robots is ready, so developers and users can start building quickly.

Three new capabilities strengthen the toolset for robotics researchers:

  • Advancement in Isaac’s gym reinforces learning.
  • Isaac Cortex improves collaborative robot programming.
  • A new instrument, Isaac Orbit, provides a simulation operating environment and benchmarks for robot learning and motion planning.

nvidia's isaac sim warehouse conveyor and people simulation

Isaac Sim supports the simulation of warehouse conveyors and people. (Image credit: Nvidia)

Expanded use of robotics underway

According to Nvidia, the robotics ecosystem is already spread across a range of industries from logistics and manufacturing to retail, energy, sustainable farming and more. Its Isaac robotics platform provides advanced AI and simulation software as well as accelerated computing capabilities to the robotics ecosystem. Over a million developers and over a thousand companies rely on one or more parts of it.

Samples of robotic operations include:

  • TeleExistence has deployed beverage restocking robots in 300 convenience stores in Japan.
  • To improve safety, Germany’s national railway company Deutsche Bahn trains AI models to handle important but unpredictable corner cases that rarely happen in the real world – such as luggage falling onto a train track.
  • Sarcos Robotics is developing robots to pick up and place solar panels in renewable energy installations.
  • Festo uses Isaac Cortex to simplify programming for cobots and transfer simulation skills to physical robots.
  • Fraunhofer Isaac is developing advanced AMR using the anatomically accurate and full-fidelity visualization features of SIM.
  • Isaac is using Replicator for flexible synthetic data generation to train AI models.