LLMs had first appeared on the internet; researchers had then tinkered with them to host them on smaller devices like Pixel phones and Raspberry Pi’s, but now they’re in something entirely unexpected.
Boston Dynamics has put ChatGPT in its famous robots. In a demo video, users are able to ask natural questions to Boston Dynamics’ robot Spot. The robot is now able to understand questions spoken to it, and can even answer in English.
After integrating ChatGPT with Boston Dynamics’ Spot, Spot can answer questions like “What it your battery level”, replying with a robotic “My battery level is currently at 53%”. On being asked how many inspections were in its next mission, Spot replies with “My next mission has 20 inspections.” Spot is even able to describe its last mission, saying that its last mission was in Room 56, and lasted 30 minutes. Spot adds that the last mission saw it experience 2 thermal anomalies.Spot is also able to act on these voice commands — when the researcher tells it that it’s crowding his space and asks him to walk backwards, Spot dutifully complies,
Spot is able to answer these questions because researches at Boston Dynamics gave Spot’s data in a JSON format to ChatGPT, and it’s then able to use that information to answer questions. ChatGPT’s Spot’s voice comes from a standard Google Text to Speech program.
While there are pretty simple explanations for how the Boston Dynamics robot works, it’s still an incredible leap from just a few months ago. Boston Robotics’ robots have been around for a while now, but adding voice capabilities to them is a pretty big step — the robots can now communicate with humans through natural language, and even follow commands. Six years ago, Black Mirror had released an episode showing these robots take over the world in a dystopian future. While it’s hard to say how these robots will end up interacting with humans in the coming years, it’s already certain that they’re close to being as capable as what was just fiction until not too long ago.