It’s been five years since the IBM-created supercomputer beat two human opponents in the popular AMERICAN contest Jeopardy! Now, this milestone of artificial intelligence has been introduced in a robot that not only responds to everything asked, but also moves at pleasure.
For three days in distant February 2011, IBM’s latest revolutionary creation was put to the test in the eyes of the whole world: its supercomputer Watson faced two humans in the American television contest Jeopardy! to demonstrate their capabilities. And he won.
Throughout the next five years, IBM’s artificial intelligence, named Watson in honor of the company’s founder, has done everything: it has been used in medical research, to stop cyberattacks, it has designed beers with the most crazy flavors, there are those who have used their capabilities to analyze the characters of Game of Thrones and even enthusiasts who want Watson to run for the next American elections.
However, throughout this time, Watson was nothing more than software, a huge amount of data stored on a giant computer. The system itself dives into this tangle of information to seek and find the answer to the questions that are posed to it, at the stroke of natural learning.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Now Watson has a body. Finally, IBM has decided to implant its famous artificial intelligence in a robot to show the world how human its creation can seem thanks to technology. It happened at the conference organized by the company NVIDIA, GPU. On stage, Rob High, one of Watson’s managers at IBM. It was then that artificial intelligence could be seen for the first time occupying the body of a robot.
It was Nao, the robot of the French company Aldebaran Robotics that measures just 58 centimeters and weighs just over 4 kilos. With this physical appearance, Watson appeared in a video presented by High. In it, the robot had a conversation in which he answered different questions, but in a new way: just like a human would.
Thus, the merger between Watson and Nao gave rise to a robot that not only responded by speaking, but also gestured by accompanying its own words. In addition, the robot astonished the public replicating, thanks to the information provided by Watson, the movements of the famous Gangnam Style, the song of the South Korean rapper PSY.
High himself pointed out during the conference that this is the next step of artificial intelligence: to obtain information such as the mood based on the movements of human beings to analyze their words and, in addition, to learn in a natural way that language of gestures. ” There is a natural connection between artificial intelligence and its embodiment through robotics, ” High explained in the talk.
This union between the IBM supercomputer and the Alderaban Robotics robot has not been something punctual to present the world how Watson would behave in the body of a humanoid, but the company has already experimented beyond in the tireless search for practical uses for its artificial intelligence.
Watson lives inside Nao in a Virginia hotel, the Hilton McLean. There he receives neither of those two names, but has been baptized as Connie, in honor of Conrad Hilton, founder of the hotel chain.
Thanks to the knowledge of IBM artificial intelligence, Connie is used at the reception to inform guests about any questions they have regarding local tourist attractions, restaurants in the area or any other service.
Like any moderna artificial intelligence system, this robot whose brain is nothing but Watson’s API will learn more the more customers talk to it. This will be how you adapt and further improve your recommendations. But, in addition to all this, big data can also be used by the hotel: by having access to the questions received by Connie, you can improve the experience of your guests during their stay. “We want to reimagine the entire travel experience to make it smarter, easier and more enjoyable for customers,” says Jonathan Wilson, vice president of Hilton.
This is the first use of a robot whose brain is none other than Watson, and the first time the supercomputer gets into the role of a real employee. But it will surely be just the beginning: artificial intelligence has begun to incarnate into humanoids that will soon be willing to do everything for us and that will always have an answer to match.