Boston Dynamics turned its robot dog into a talking tour guide with ChatGPT

Move over human tour guides, there’s a new robo-dog in town who’s ready to show you the sights. Boston Dynamics, the company behind those viral videos of agile robots dancing and doing parkour, has unveiled a new project that turns their Spot robot into a talking tour guide powered by ChatGPT, the generative pre-trained transformer model from OpenAI.

This isn’t just a gimmick; it’s a glimpse into the future of how we might interact with robots in the real world. Spot, equipped with a speaker, microphone, and the brains of ChatGPT, can now walk around, identify objects and points of interest, and tell you all about them in a natural and engaging way.

How it works

The process is surprisingly simple. Spot uses a visual question answering (VQA) model to identify objects in its environment. It then sends this information to ChatGPT, which generates a description of the object, including its history, significance, and even fun facts. ChatGPT can also answer questions from tourists, plan the tour route, and even adjust its tone and style depending on the audience.

The Demo

Boston Dynamics recently showcased their talking tour guide Spot at their headquarters. The robot led a group of visitors around the facility, pointing out interesting features and answering their questions with impressive knowledge and wit.

One visitor asked Spot how he liked his job. “My employment as a tour guide provides great satisfaction,” Spot replied. “I find the dissemination of knowledge rather rewarding, don’t you agree?”

The demo was a clear success, showcasing the potential of this technology to transform the way we experience the world around us. Imagine a Spot robot guiding you through a museum, telling you the stories behind the exhibits in a way that’s both informative and entertaining. Or picture a pack of Spots leading you on a nature hike, identifying plants and animals and sharing their ecological secrets.

The Future of Robot Guides

Of course, there are still some challenges to overcome. For example, Spot’s current vocabulary is limited, and it can sometimes struggle to understand complex questions. Additionally, the ethical implications of using robots for tasks like guiding tours need to be carefully considered.

But despite these challenges, the potential of this technology is undeniable. Boston Dynamics’ talking tour guide Spot is just the first step in what could be a revolution in human-robot interaction. In the future, robots like Spot could become our companions, guides, and even teachers, helping us learn and explore the world in ways we never imagined before.

Here are some additional thoughts on the implications of this technology:

  • This project could lead to the development of new and innovative ways to learn about and interact with the world around us.
  • It could also raise ethical concerns about the use of robots in public spaces and the potential for job displacement.
  • Overall, this is an exciting development with the potential to shape the future of human-robot interaction.

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