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Artificial Intelligence – Instead of a Hostess, You Have a Robot

We at RMG Staffing will continue to stay on top of the latest trends in the industry. A new wave of the future is coming and no, we’re not talking about 2018. We’re talking about artificial intelligence where computers don’t just perform mental tasks but also think for themselves. It’s called deep learning. It essentially involves feeding a computer system big data, which it then uses to make decisions about other data. This data is fed through neural networks. These networks, called logical constructions ask a series of binary true/false questions, extract a numerical value, of every bit of data which pass through them, and then classify it according to the answers received. IBM’s Watson computer is a perfect example of deep learning artificial intelligence. Watson even appeared and competed against contestants in Jeopardy.  

The idea for IBM’s Watson had been in existence since the late 1970s and as we head towards 2018 and beyond the capabilities of artificial intelligence will surpass our wildest imagination.

This past October the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology hosted The ICAICS 2017: 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science.

The conference brought together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of artificial intelligence and cognitive science. It also provided a premier interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners, and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of artificial intelligence and cognitive science.

One of the conference’s most appealing segment consisted of a talk and paper presented by Lipeng Zhang, Limei Li, and Yanming Pearl Zhang. Titled “Using Information Theory to Observe Natural Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence,” they talked about Pepper, a friendly humanoid robot that uses deep learning to act and think for itself.  

“Pepper is the first humanoid robot capable of recognizing the principal human emotions and adapting his behavior to the mood of his interlocutor,” SoftBank Group Corp stated, a Japanese multinational telecommunications corporation. “To date, more than 140 SoftBank Mobile stores in Japan are using Pepper as a new way of welcoming, informing and amusing customers. Pepper also recently became the first humanoid robot to be adopted in Japanese homes.”

Pepper had also made an appearance at Oakland International Airport. The 4-foot-tall human-shaped robot was hired by Pyramid Ale Taproom in Terminal 2 to drum up business, offer menu advice, give directions and be a charming addition to the dining experience. And during October of 2016, another company brought similar humanoid robots to the San Jose International Airport in San Jose, California. Named Norma, Amelia, and Piper, the three gave travelers airport directions, danced and even took the time to take selfies. 

Softbank recently announced that it’s highly advanced AI-powered NAO robot is being used by Hilton Hotels across the U.S. as a concierge. In a partnership with IBM’s Watson program, the robots are called “Connie,” and named after Hilton Conrad Hilton.  

“Connie isn’t simply a NAO robot with some basic programming added. Hilton’s version is powered by Watson software, which enhances its natural language processing so Connie can better understand human speech. It was also designed to improve over time and the more it interacts with people, by storing every question guests ask for future reference. Besides answering inquiries about the hotel, Connie will also be able to recommend tourist spots, restaurants, and other destinations, since it has access to WayBlazer’s travel platform,” Softbank revealed in a press release. 

These deep learning and artificial intelligence initiatives are taking the businesses and hospitality industry by storm. The humanoid robots will eventually replace kiosks and dramatically improve businesses’ customer service. Will they completely replace humans? Only time will tell.