Spot Robot Needs Just a Minute to Make Chat AIs Eat Their Algorithms Out

We live in a time when talk of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining increased momentum, not in small part thanks to the advancements in their respective fields made by companies like Boston Dynamics or OpenAI.
Boston Dynamics Spot at work 11 photos
Photo: Boston Dynamics
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We’re not yet at a point where we can talk about AIs inside robot bodies. Chances are we’ll get there soon enough, but until we do we’re still bound to witness each of the two technologies competing for the public’s attention.

It’s hard to dispute that OpenAI’s ChatGPT, or Google’s BARD, or Microsoft’s upgraded Bing are the talk of the day, following revelations as to what these bodyless minds are capable of doing if properly handled. From making life easier for students to giving us insights into how they might evolve post-singularity, chat AIs are possibly the perfect tool for creative or inquisitive minds.

For those of us who go about our daily lives in a more physical manner, working in industries like manufacturing, power generation, mining, and so on, a chatbot is utterly useless. Real-life robots, on the other hand, can be God-sent for the work that keeps our society running.

Sure, robots have been used in production for years now, but you have to admit none of the mostly stationary machines that help assemble a Tesla, for instance, is as spectacular as the Boston Dynamics Spot.

Boston Dynamics Spot at work
Photo: Boston Dynamics
We’ve known the headless dog robot for a few years now, but only in recent times, after it went on sale for commercial applications in 2020 for $75,000, did we actually get to witness it at work. And the thing is both spectacular and scary at the same time.

You can get another taste of that in the most recent video released by Boston Dynamics on April 19. It’s short, under a minute long, but shows the yellow piece of hardware in a variety of roles, from patrolling on a solar panel farm to going up and down stairs, scanning the environment around it, and generally looking cool.

And it appears the robot is capable of learning new tricks constantly, despite remaining largely the same, specs-wise, as it was when it launched three years ago.

The machine can carry a payload of up to 14 kg (31 pounds), which can come as a variety of sensors and inspection equipment. The robot can be controlled remotely or programmed to perform duties autonomously. When in this mode, it understands its environment thanks to cameras and sensors that allow it a 360-degree perception of the terrain around it.

Because it has legs instead of wheels or tracks, it can move over virtually any surface, a solid proposition for all sorts of applications.

Spot can have immediate and physical effects over its surroundings, and that still makes it in today’s world a much more useful tool than ChatGPT. We can only wonder though what would happen if someone found a way to blend the two pieces of technology...

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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