There are hundreds of companies competing to install all manner of food-preparation robots for restaurants. The upsurge seems driven by a rather predictable common denominator. In nearly every article I’ve read about Flippy or its competitors, high employee turnover, workplace injuries and above-market wage laws are cited.
Still, flipping burgers and teaching children are worlds apart, right? Consider that two weeks ago, Google unveiled an experimental service called Duplex. The service deploys a digital “personal assistant” which autonomously books appointments for its “client” by placing voice-based telephone calls and engaging in real-time conversations with humans who can’t tell they’re conversing with an artificial-intelligence machine.
In a demonstration, Duplex called a hair salon and negotiated an appointment time. It independently called a restaurant and successfully navigated an awkward conversation with the store’s cashier.
It did all this by recognizing the context of the conversation and responding appropriately, including using “ums,” “ahhs,” humms,” and human-sounding pauses. You can watch the revolutionary demonstration yourself right now. Just ask your smartphone to “Google it” for you.
After watching, ask yourself how difficult it will really be for artificial intelligence to revolutionize virtually any industry where natural intelligence is either regulated away or deliberately suppressed.
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