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.”