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Cat toys, robotic toasters and reprimand lamps



2023 ACM/IEEE Human-Robot Interaction Conference (HRI) takes place this week in Stockholm under the motto “HRI for all”. It’s a nice theme to promote diversity and inclusion, but it’s also a good reminder that all robots have (or should) have thought about how they interact with humans. HRI is not just for social robots. Even the most industrial industrial robots, producing things without light, which will never see a human being at work, unless something is very, very wrong (or is about to happen), must still be configured and programmed by a human. And these people are happiest when engineers remember that they exist.

In any case, there will be a lot of interesting research presented at HRI (materials are already available online). Here), but first we’ll take a look at the annual HRI Student Design Competitionwhich is always creative and fun.

The theme of this year’s Student Design Competition is Accessible Robots. Student teams are encouraged to create and describe a scenario with robots/agents that are affordable and have real value in society. In particular, we are looking for affordable, efficient, scalable, and reliable use cases with real-world potential. Since the theme of this year’s conference is “HRI for All”, we also encourage students to think about inclusion and diversity in HRI in terms of geographic integration (for both developed and developing countries), gender inclusion, ethnic inclusion, disability, equity. etc. related to this topic.

This combination of “accessibility” and “real utility” is especially difficult because robots are inherently not accessible at all, and utility (in terms of functionality that justifies their cost) is an unattainable goal, which is why exactly the problem you want students to solve . There will be 20 entries this year and we can only share a few of them, but here are five that we found particularly interesting.

Aimoji: An affordable interactive kit that turns used toys into companion robots.

When a child wants to talk to a toy, it is usually a one-way interaction where the child imagines the toy’s reaction. Our design allows each toy to have two-way interaction with our low cost interaction kit. The reaction of the toy is based on a motion sensor that causes the toy to react to the child through a screen attached to the toy. With this method, every child can experience human-robot interaction in an accessible way. There can be as many robots as there are toys.

Toubot: A pair of wearable tactile robots that emotionally connect abandoned children and their parents.

Children who stay at home have more mental problems than their urban peers because they have fewer instant emotional interactions with their parents. To solve this problem, we offer a pair of wearable soft robots that will strengthen their emotional connection by enhancing instantaneous non-verbal interactions.

Internet of cat robot toys to deepen bonding and lift your spirits

Pets provide important psychological support to humans. Recent advances in robotics and HRI have led to research and commercial products offering intelligent solutions to improve the lives of pets. However, most of these products are focused on meeting the basic needs of pets, such as feeding and littering, rather than their mental well-being. In this article, we present the Internet of Cat Robot Toys, where a group of agent robots connect to play with our furry friends. Over three iterations, we are demonstrating an accessible and flexible design of clip-on agent robots to transform a static household into an interactive pet wonderland.

Labo is watching you: the robot that coaxes you into interrupting your smartphone

Endogenous smartphone outages have affected people’s daily lives in many ways, especially in lamp-lit study and work areas. To mitigate this, we’re making a robot that can convince you by complementing the lamp on your desk with certain poses and lights.

Bot toaster: design for convenience and pleasure in the kitchen

Toasting bread is a seemingly mundane task that people perform on a daily basis, whether in a private kitchen or in a communal dining room. This article introduces a toaster robot, or “toaster bot”, which is designed with animated motions to enhance the toasting process by not only assisting in the task itself, but also acting as a playable entity that users can interact with.

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AI and the future of work: things are about to change




In just a few months, you will be able to ask A a virtual assistant to transcribe meeting notes during a work call, summarize long email streams to quickly put together suggested responses, quickly create a specific chart in Excel, and turn a Word document into a PowerPoint presentation in seconds.

And that’s just on Microsoft 365 platforms.

Over the past week, the fast-paced artificial intelligence landscape seemed to take the lead again. Microsoft and Google have unveiled new AI-based features for their proprietary productivity tools, and OpenAI has unveiled a next-generation version of the technology behind its viral chatbot tool ChatGPT.

Suddenly, AI tools that have been running in the background for a long time across many services are now more powerful and more visible across a wide and growing range of workplace tools.

New features of Google, for example, promise for brainstorming and proofreading written papers in Documents. Meanwhile, If your workplace uses the popular chat platform Slack, you can use its ChatGPT tool to communicate with co-workers on your behalf, perhaps by asking them to write and reply to new messages and summarize conversations in channels.

OpenAI, Microsoft and Google are at the forefront of this trend, but they are not alone. IBM, Amazon, Baidu and Tencent are working on similar technologies. A long list of startups are also developing AI writing assistants and image generators.

The position of technology companies is clear: AI can make you more productive and save you from routine work. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during Thursday’s presentation, “We believe the next generation of AI will usher in a new wave of productivity growth: powerful assistants designed to take us out of the grind of our daily tasks and at work, giving us the power to rediscover for yourself joy. creativity.”

But the sheer number of new options hitting the market is dizzying and, like so much else in the tech industry over the past decade, raises questions about whether they really are. justify the hype or cause unforeseen consequences, including the possibility of fraud and the elimination of the need for certain roles (although this may be the intention of some followers).

Even the promise of greater performance is unclear. For example, an increase in the number of AI-generated emails can improve sender productivity, but degrade it for recipients inundated with longer-than-necessary computer-generated messages. And of course, just because everyone has the ability to use a chatbot to communicate with colleagues doesn’t mean everyone will choose to do so.

Integrating this technology “into the core pieces of productivity software that most of us use every day will have a significant impact on how we work,” said Rowan Curran, an analyst at Forrester. “But this change won’t affect everything and everyone tomorrow – learning how to best use these opportunities to improve and adjust our existing workflows will take time.”

Anyone who has ever used the autocomplete option when typing an email or sending a message has already experienced how AI can speed up tasks. But new tools promise to go far beyond that.

A new wave of AI product launches began almost four months ago when OpenAI released a limited version of ChatGPT., wow users by generating human responses to user queries, taking exams at prestigious universities, and writing compelling essays on a range of topics.

Since then, the technology, in which Microsoft made a “multi-billion dollar” investment earlier this year, has only gotten better. Earlier this week, OpenAI introduced GPT-4, a more powerful version of the technology behind ChatGPT that promises to outperform previous iterations.

In the company’s first tests and demos, the GPT-4 was used to draft lawsuits, build a working website from a hand-drawn sketch, and recreate iconic games like Pong, Tetris, or Snake with very little or no programming experience.

GPT-4 is a large language model that has been trained on massive amounts of online data to generate responses to user queries.

It’s the same technology that powers two of Microsoft’s new features: “Co-pilot” to help you edit, summarize, create and compare documents across its platforms, and Business Chat, an agent that essentially rides with the user. when he is working and trying to understand and make sense of his Microsoft 365 data.

The agent will know, for example, what’s in the user’s email and in his calendar for the day, as well as the documents he worked on, the presentations he made, the people he met, and according to the company, the chats happen on their platform. commands. Users can then ask Business Chat to complete tasks such as writing a status report summarizing all documents across platforms for a particular project, and then compose an email that can be sent to their team with an update.

Curran just said How much these AI-based tools will change the way you work depends on the application. For example, a word processing application can help create plans and drafts, a slideshow maker can help speed up the design and content creation process, and a spreadsheet application should help more users interact and make data-driven decisions. The latter, in his opinion, will have the most significant impact on the workplace in both the short and long term.

Discussions about how these technologies will affect jobs, he says, “should be focused on work tasks, not jobs in general.”

While the OpenAI GPT-4 update promises to fix some of its biggest problems – from its ability to perpetuate prejudice to sometimes factually incorrect and aggressive reactions – there is still room for some of these issues find their way into the workplace, especially when it comes to interacting with other people.

Arijit Sengupta, CEO and founder of artificial intelligence solutions company Aible, said the problem with any large language model is that it tries to please the user and usually accepts the premises of the user’s statements.

“If people start gossiping about something, they will accept it as the norm, and then they will start generating content. [related to that]Sengupta said, adding that it can escalate interpersonal issues and turn into office bullying.

In a tweet earlier this week, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman wrote that the technology behind these systems is “still imperfect, still limited, and still feels more impressive the first time you use it than after you’ve spent more time with it.” The company reiterated in a blog post that “great care should be taken when using language model output, especially in high-stakes contexts.”

Arun Chandrasekaran, an analyst at Gartner Research, said organizations need to educate their users on what these solutions are good at and what their limitations are.

“Blind trust in these solutions is just as dangerous as a complete lack of faith in their effectiveness,” Chandrasekaran said. “Generative AI solutions can also falsify facts or provide inaccurate information from time to time, and organizations must be prepared to mitigate these negative impacts.”

At the same time, many of these applications are outdated (GPT-4 data, on which he was trained ends around September 2021). Users will have to do everything from double checking for accuracy to changing the language to reflect the desired tone. It will also be important to get approval and support from the workplace in order for the tools to start working.

“Training, learning and organizational change management are very important to ensure that employees support efforts and tools are used as intended,” said Chandrasekaran.

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The Russian space program is in big trouble



Roscosmos has also considered shooting down the Soyuz, which is currently docked at the ISS. earlier than planned and replace it with another Soyuz. Russian newspaper. This could be a sign of technical problems behind the scenes.

For nine years after the last shuttle flight, NASA depended on Russia to get astronauts to the ISS—the Soyuz offered the only way to get to space. But in 2020, NASA began using the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Soon Boeing will also start offering rides. NASA still relies on Russia to deliver some supplies and a few astronaut flights, but that could change soon, McClintock says. “I think it’s likely — and it would be wise — for NASA to do a similar analysis to see if they can provide resupply and get astronauts to the station without relying on the Russians,” he says.

NASA may already be moving in that direction; March 2 agency extended cargo contracts with SpaceX, Northrop Grumman and Sierra Space. This development will exacerbate Russia’s economic problems by reducing its already limited space revenues. Roskosmos does not have a commercial space program to support or use.

In terms of crewed launches, Russia has long depended on its Baikonur launch site in neighboring Kazakhstan. But the nation has Expensive annual fees chargedand in March Kazakhstan seized assets of the Russian cosmodrome, reportedly due to the debt of Roscosmos. Russia sought to reduce its dependence on Baikonur by building a new cosmodrome. Cosmodrome Vostochny in eastern Russia near the border with China, but the project is mired in construction problems, delays and corruption scandals.

In addition to launch problems and coolant leaks, the Russian civilian space program faces another challenge: the ISS. For the past quarter century, the station has provided a critical link between the US and Russian space programs, but it is fading away, as are plans to scrap the giant structure entirely. NASA is investing in next-generation commercial space stations, with modules expected to enter orbit as early as 2030. Russia plays no role in these commercial concepts, nor in China’s new Tiangong station.

Last July, Yuri Borisov, the head of Roscosmos, said that Russia would withdraw from the ISS, effectively ending the life of the station, in 2028 when Russia launches its own space station. And in February of this year, the state news agency TASS confirmed that Russia plans to support the ISS until 2028, a timeframe that depends on the deployment of a “new Russian orbital station.”

Pavel Luzin, senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a China, Russia and Eurasia think tank, is skeptical; he does not know about new models of space stations, crewed spacecraft or launch vehicles in development. He adds that it would be optimistic for Russia to even launch a new station in the 2030s. “Russia is not the Soviet Union,” says Luzin, who is also a visiting fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “Russia will be able to produce several large ships and Soyuz ships. Russia will be able to launch several satellites. But it will not be an advanced space power. It will not take steps beyond low Earth orbit.”

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