Amazon has a new robot coming out, and there’s been a number of reviews. Here’s a list of just a few of them:
If those reviews have convinced you to get one, you can apply to get into the queue for them over here (they aren’t generally available): Amazon.com: Introducing Amazon Astro, Household Robot for Home Monitoring, with Alexa, Includes 6-month Free Trial of Ring Protect Pro : Everything Else
- It’s smart Amazon is rolling them out this way. (No pun intended.) There are going to be many missteps* : a gradual rollout will minimize problems and bad press. (* Also not a pun. :))
- A robot is the next iteration in home devices. People may have a number of Amazon home devices around. Robots are like Alexa on wheels. And if anyone can mass produce them, Amazon can.
- I can see Google and others getting into the game. I have a number of Google Home devices around my house. Having a Google Robot (Gizmo?) would be a benefit to me. For one thing, I might consolidate my Home devices and just have one robot / floor.
- I wonder if Apple will get into the game? I’d love to see an Apple Home robot. Maybe it will look like Eve from Wall-E? 🙂
- Perhaps at some point this thing can do many things. Or maybe there will be just a series of robots: one to vacuum, one to move small things around and watch the house and provide information, maybe even one to tend to plants or keep the cat busy. Robot technology has a way to go before it is humanlike and can do everything.
Anyway, a home robot for under a grand is an exciting development.
P.S. While I was reading that I was reminded of this piece: Finding the servant call buttons in New York City’s Gilded Age mansions | Ephemeral New York. In some ways saying “Hey Siri/Alexa/Google” is the equivalent of pressing servant buttons. One day we will have a household of robot servants working for us at the press of a button.
(Image linked to from the Ephemeral New York article. Those buttons are in the Frick museum in New York: check them out if you go there.)
If you have even a passing knowledge of IT, you likely have heard of Pepper and Watson. Pepper was a robot and Watson was an AI system that won at Jeopardy. Last week the Verge and the New York Times had articles on them both:
- Go read how Pepper was a very bad robot – The Verge
- What Ever Happened to IBM’s Watson? – The New York Times
I don’t have any specific insights or conclusions into either technology, other than trite summations like “cutting edge technology is hard” and “don’t believe the hype”. AI and robotics are especially hard, so the risks are high and the chances of failure are high. That comes across in these two pieces.
Companies from Tesla to Boston Dynamics and more are making grand claims about their AI and their robotics. I suspect much of it will suffer the same fate as Pepper and Watson. Like all failure, none of it is final or fatal. People learn from their mistakes and move on to make better things. AI and robotics will continue to advance…just not at the pace many would like it too.
In the meantime, go read those articles. Especially if you are finding yourself falling for the hype.
(Image: link of image on The Verge)
Ballie is the cute little yellow ball above. Samsung unvailled ‘Ballie’ at the 2020 Consumer Electronic Show. If you go to the link, you can read all the things Ballie can do for you. What you don’t get to read is what Ballie is going to do for others. Because there’s never been a more potentially intrusive device in your house like this one. It can go around your house 24/7, recording not just sounds but images. Images (and sounds) that anyone back on the Internet can process.
Until companies and other organizations can demonstrate proper stewardship of such data, I wouldn’t recommend anyone get one of these things. They are far from essential and potentially harmful.
If you are looking to build AI tech, or just learn about it, then you will find these interesting:
- Artificial intelligence pioneer says we need to start over – Axios – if Hinton says it, it is worth taking note
- Robots Will Take Fast-Food Jobs, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes | Inverse – true. Economists need to stop making such a strong link here.
- Artificial Intelligence 101: How to Get Started | HackerEarth Blog – a good 101 piece
- Deep Learning Machine Teaches Itself Chess in 72 Hours, Plays at International Master Level – MIT Technology Review – the ability of tech to learn is accelerating.
- Now AI Machines Are Learning to Understand Stories – MIT Technology Review – and not just accelerating, but getting deeper.
- Robots are coming for your job. That might not be bad news – good alternative insight from Laurie Penny.
- Pocket: Physicists Unleash AI to Devise Unthinkable Experiments – not surprisingly, a smart use of AI
- AI’s dueling definitions – O’Reilly Media – this highlights one of the problems with AI, and that it is it is a suitcase word (or term) and people fill it with what they want to fill it with
- A Neural Network Playground – a very nice tool to start working with AI
- Foxconn replaces ‘60,000 factory workers with robots’ – BBC News – there is no doubt in places like Foxconn, robots are taking jobs.
- 7 Steps to Mastering Machine Learning With Python – don’t be put off by this site’s design: there is good stuff here
- How Amazon Triggered a Robot Arms Race – Bloomberg – Amazon made a smart move with that acquisition and it is paying off
- When Police Use Robots to Kill People – Bloomberg this is a real moral quandary and I am certain the police aren’t the only people to be deciding on it. See also: A conversation on the ethics of Dallas police’s bomb robot – The Verge
- How to build and run your first deep learning network – O’Reilly Media – more good stuff on ML/DL/AI
- This expert thinks robots aren’t going to destroy many jobs. And that’s a problem. | The new new economy – another alternative take on robots and jobs
- Neural Evolution – Building a natural selection process with AI – more tutorials
- Uber Parking Lot Patrolled By Security Robot | Popular Science – not too long after this, one of these robots drowned in a pool in a mall. Technology: it’s not easy 🙂
- A Robot That Harms: When Machines Make Life Or Death Decisions : All Tech Considered : NPR – this is kinda dumb, but worth a quick read.
- Mathematics of Machine Learning | Mathematics | MIT OpenCourseWare – if you have the math skills, this looks promising
- Small Prolog | Managing organized complexity – I will always remain an AI/Prolog fan, so I am including this link.
- TensorKart: self-driving MarioKart with TensorFlow – a very cool application
- AI Software Learns to Make AI Software – MIT Technology Review – there is less here than it appears, but still worth reviewing
- How to Beat the Robots – The New York Times – meh. I think people need to learn to work with the technology, not try to defeat it. If you disagree, read this.
- People want to know: Why are there no good bots? – bot makers, take note.
- Noahpinion: Robuts takin’ jerbs
- globalinequality: Robotics or fascination with anthropomorphism – everyone is writing about robots and jobs, it seems.
- Valohai – more ML tools
- Seth’s Blog: 23 things artificially intelligent computers can do better/faster/cheaper than you can – like I said, everyone is writing about AI. Even Seth Godin.
- The Six Main Stories, As Identified by a Computer – The Atlantic – again, not a big deal, but interesting.
- A poet does TensorFlow – O’Reilly Media – artists will always experiment with new mediums
- How to train your own Object Detector with TensorFlow’s Object Detector API – more good tooling.
- Rise of the machines – the best – by far! – non-technical piece I have read about AI and robots.
- We Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What It Found. – I was super impressed what Buzzfeed did here.
- The Best Machine Learning Resources – Machine Learning for Humans – Medium – tons of good resources here.