ASIMO Robot from Honda

Honda has just released a new version of its ASIMO robot, which is now fully autonomous (as opposed to remote-controlled).

ASIMO can navigate complex environments along with people, recognize and distinguish faces and voices — even when people are speaking simultaneously. And it can do a lot of other stuff.

Details are here.  Check out the video below:


[youtube ]


As I wrote previously, a lot of people have jobs that are safe from automation not because they are especially advanced or creative, but because they involve skills such as dexterity and hand-eye coordination that are currently beyond the capability of machines.  Things are changing.

And, as I noted here on the subject of personal robots:

The thing is that for a robot to autonomously run around the house doing a variety of tasks requires a very sophisticated level of technology. If that technology is developed and becomes affordable then it will certainly make its way into a variety of commercial applications—in fact, it may well be deployed there first.

It seems to me that if we have affordable personal robots that are actually capable of doing anything useful, then that technology implies that millions of jobs will be at risk in areas like:

  • stocking shelves in supermarkets and other retail stores
  • moving materials in stores and warehouses
  • providing security in a variety of settings

This is the second version of ASIMO. What will the 5th version look like? What about v. 10?

Singularity Hub also has the story.

6 thoughts on “ASIMO Robot from Honda

  1. (Duplicated from my Google+ comment.)

    I stand by my prediction that this will come down to a cost where it is really useful in 2020 (+-2 years). It might take a few years more to replace house keepers, but not much and only because they job pays so poorly. That is why I am worried about 30-40% unemployment within the decade.

    Knowing a price for materials would be helpful for trying to predict when this will be commercially viable. However, 2023 is 3-orders of magnitude change away (based on the slope of the Top500 data). A lot is possible in three orders of magnitude.

    1. Getting all we need without work is OK for most of us. The IT revolution will produce all we need without the need for work. The problem is distributing wealth. Work is a market allocating people according to aptitude, wishes and availability. Work distributes wealth, trade is civilizing and is a discipline creating social organisation, a social role and a meaningful life.

      We are going to have to find a lot of other things to do but I think we are up to it. There will be a big increase in sport, arts, nature pursuits, study for its own sake and socializing. The current economic turmoil is a result of government over activity and spending so as work fades it should take government with it as AI becomes powerful enough to take over. What I fear is that there is no shortage of power seekers who want to manipulate and control the rest of us and they will have massively powerful tools to do it with.

  2. 30% unemployment is already here. In the UK officially there are 2.4 million unemployed.

    There are 3 million who are classed as disabled and unable to work.

    Then there are 8 million who are classed as economically inactive 13.4 million people and rising fast. The work force is about 40 million.

  3. Research I read last year coming out of Australia (I think it was Australia) indicated that there were some really interesting prospects for predictive computing. Outside of the issues with robots that can actually function with simple tasks autonomously, there is the issue of “thinking” and predicting situations like a human–this research was fascinating because they found ways in poker situations to teach a computer to bluff–very advanced when it can learn behaviors and choose when to override traditional computer data input!

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