By George Formitchev
Ray Kurzweil said that one day we’ll become hemi hybrids – demi humans, demi cyborgs…
I want it to happen as soon as possible.
It’s all about information.
It’s growing with every passing day. It takes more and more time to uptake and process this massive data. So less free time remains. Robots could provide us a strong support in processing, structuring and memorizing new information.
In our fast-paced world we spend energy in the pursuit of global trends in order to obtain as more a complete picture of the world as possible.
Therefore, it is important before the conference or presentation to make sure that your information is not outdated. Any information may lose relevance in the period of a few hours.
Who can help us with this?
Chatbots and our future together
Sometimes it took us hours to check our emails and respond to important messages. For example, my friend Jeff spends hours every day to process the incoming mails, even an assistant does not relieve him from reading important messages.
Jeff organizes conferences on instant messages #monage, #jeffpulver and looks for speakers. It is not difficult to guess how much time he spends corresponding with potential speakers.
Now let’s imagine that a robot could undertake it all: send emails on your behalf and handle the responses received; with the speaker’s consent to participate, it could automatically coordinate with him the topic and time of the speech. Such cooperation would save the organizer dozens of hours.
Due to the nature of my work, I am often on the road and occasionally do not even have time to choose and book a place to stay for a night.
While driving a car, I talk a lot on the phone, WhatsApp, Skype (not to break the rules, I use a hands free headset) and I always regret that I do not have a robot that would prompt where the nearest gas station is and where I can dine inexpensively. Roadside advertising does not always help.
It would be great if a robot could dictate a menu to me and could make the order online in 5-10 minutes before my arrival to the café, so that there only remained for me to get the order and pay.
We are talking now about the future of chatbots. Who doesn’t know, a chatbot is a virtual interlocutor, which answers your questions. By the way, together with my friend Jeff, we are organizing a community of chatbot developers. The first meetup took place in New York, on the 18th of October https://www.meetup.com/MoNage-NYC-Meetup/
I wish I had a chatbot already. While writing this article, I have now and then to distract from it to answer urgent customers’ questions; I even had to postpone the time of a conference-call. So a chatbot could be very helpful! It could speak for me with customers, reschedule meetings and calls, and even inform people if I’m available for a conversation. Much has been already done in this direction.
OK Google, for instance. Google Hello is an application with a chatbot, interlocutor-assistant, or the Hound application, where I can book a hotel room for not more than 80 dollars, just using my voice. It’s very helpful.
But this is just a start.
A real age of chatbots is still to come.
There is also Amazon Alexa, which is used by many elderly people not for the sake of getting information, but for the sake of chatting.
It means that the idea of the Jibo company to create a robot companion is sensible. However, I think that a robot companion for home is too much. We’re humans and we need human contacts.
No robots will replace us the warm human communication. On the other hand, communication with the purpose of receiving and processing the information, or placing an order might change for the better.
Chatbots can dramatically change our understanding of the Internet and applications
Let’s imagine that in 5-10 years the Internet will change dramatically. There will be no need to create sophisticated websites. There will be only ChatBots, which will answer all you questions. They will tell you about products, their features and advantages.
People’s reviews will be also uploaded to ChatBots so that everybody could familiarize with them.
Perhaps in 5-10 years the Internet will become a combination (a net) of millions of chatbots of various resources, retailers, manufacturers, and so on.
Do you remember the movie Her, where the hero communicates with his operational system.
On October the 15th, during a panel discussion at a conference in Bridgeport (Connecticut), we discussed the prospects of open-source chatbots. See the detailed information on our website: endurancerobots.com
Open-source ChatBots have the best potential. They can be customized and given each one its own special character, etc.
I do not understand why the Jibo company does not plan to create an open API for their own robot customization. This may severely limit its use.
I discussed that with one of the company developers, but it looks that the investors and authorities think they can better create a multipurpose robot interlocutor. https://www.jibo.com/
Endurance, in its turn, plans to launch an open development of a ChatBot on the basis of its DIY SelfieBot (endurancerobots.com/en/robots/diy-selfiebot/), using OK Google for speech recognition and Microsoft for its synthesis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbKiUkbyGmE http://endurancerobots.com/a-fully-robotized-endurance-open-source-platform/
We have already a speech recognition and synthesis interface. Now we are testing various API to choose most multifunctional and advanced for usage.
This initiative presents a significant interest to many educational institutions, mainly in the USA.
The SelfieBot is a robot with a rotation ability to track a face in view. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfFyus8TNJ8
With a ChatBot installed it will become a full-fledged robot-companion to use both at home as a toy and in business as a practical assistant.
For example, in the clinic to interview patients at the reception, or in a cafe or restaurant to take orders.
A robot-companion will be very helpful in a shop to learn about new collections and customers’ reviews.
But this is only a visible part of an iceberg, there’s still much work to do at what is hidden under the water.
That’s why Endurance invites universities and schools, students and enthusiasts to join our educational initiative.
Let’s create chatbots together on the basis of our knowledge and experience, using our open-source DIY SelfieBot technology for rotation and face tracking. After all, it’s the best way to communicate with your interlocutor.
Such universities as MIT, Tufts, FGCU, FSU and others have already joined our program. We’ll learn how people will use chatbots in the future, and the future is right around the corner.
There is a chance that the blockchain technology will be used for interaction and verification of chatbots, but we’ll tell about it in our next article.
Besides, we’ll keep you informed about creation of the ChatBot association together with Jeff Pulver https://twitter.com/jeffpulver
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