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What just happened? In what could either be something very cute and helpful or yet another inevitable step toward a Black Mirror-style dystopia, someone has integrated ChatGPT into Boston Dynamics' Spot the robot dog, enabling the machine to speak to users.
The melding of generative AI and the robotic quadruped was the work of Santiago, an engineer who, according to his Twitter bio, builds machine learning systems. He tweeted a video showing how and why ChatGPT was integrated into Spot.
By using Google text-to-speech, users can ask Spot about past and future missions, to which it can reply in real-time. Santiago writes that ChatGPT interprets the question, parses the files, and formulates an answer. The process requires specific terms to be added to Spot's dictionary so it returns the right information.
We integrated ChatGPT with our robots.– Santiago (@svpino) April 25, 2023
We had a ton of fun building this!
Read on for the details: pic.twitter.com/DRC2AOF0eU
The video shows Spot replying to questions about its battery level and the number of inspections in its next mission. It also gives a breakdown of its last task.
Santiago said the reason behind the integration was that the robots run automated missions every day, each one using miles-long hard-to-understand configuration files that only technical people can understand. Additionally, the robots capture a lot of data at the end of each mission, and there's no easy way to query all of it on demand. That's where ChatGPT comes in, simplifying the whole process.
Spot is also able to nod or shake its head to signify an answer to a yes or no question, which is definitely closer to the cute side than the dystopian one.
Integrating ChatGPT into robots is always going to make some people nervous – the mental image of a future Spot explaining why it must kill all humans is a haunting one – but its current implementation is simply to help those who work with the machine. Perhaps the New York Police department, which recently welcomed the return of the Spot-based Digidog, might be interested in such a combination: RoboSpot?
In other recent ChatGPT news, research shows that creator OpenAI is burning through as much as $694,444 every day just to keep the chatbot running.