Google robots are getting smarter at executing voice commands

To accomplish these requests the robots must break them down into smaller steps or goals and use the corresponding skills they have for them. So far, Google says PaLM-SayCan makes robots 14 percent better at planning jobs and 13 percent better at completing them. The firm has also reported a 26 percent improvement in robots’ ability to plan tasks involving eight or more steps or goals.

However, Google Research robotics lead Vincent Vanhoucke told Fast Company that these advanced robot models are all about exploring what the company can do. “Google tries to be a company that focuses on providing access to information, helping people task in their daily lives,” he explained.

“You could imagine a ton of overlap between Google’s overarching mission and what we’re doing in terms of more concrete goals. I think we’re really at the level of providing capabilities, and trying to understand what capabilities we can provide. It’s still a quest of ‘what are the things that the robot can do? And can we broaden our imagination about what’s possible?'”

Vanhoucke also told TechCrunch that the current issues in robotics can best be exemplified by the use of robotics in ping pong.

“You may wonder why ping-pong. One of the big challenges in robotics today is this intersection of being fast, precise and adaptive. You can be fast and not adaptive at all; that’s not a problem. That’s fine in an industrial setting. But being fast and adaptive and precise is a really big challenge. Ping-pong is a really nice microcosm of the problem. It requires precision and speed. You can learn from people playing: it’s a skill that people develop by practicing,” Vanhoucke added.

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