Spot ChatGPT

ChatGPT Lets Robot Dog Say a Lot More Than Woof

ChatGPT is giving one of the famous robot dogs built by Boston Dynamics a chance to talk to the people programming it for the first time. Engineers at robotic AI software developer Levatas embedded the generative AI chatbot in one of the ‘Spot’ robot dogs and connected the AI to Google’s Text-to-Speech synthetic voice API, enabling the metal canine to understand and respond to spoken, informally phrased questions and commands as can be seen in the above video posted by machine learning engineer Santiago Valdarrama.


The researchers demonstrate how ChatGPT understands it is embedded in a robot dog by answering questions about its battery level, whether it is standing, and its position relative to the person speaking to it. The developers provided access to the machine’s data as well, allowing it to process and explain its past and upcoming tasks, which usually involve patrolling factories and server farms for breakdowns or other problems, and gathering a range of environmental data along the way. The text-to-speech tool defaults to Google’s usual neutral female voice Google usually defaults to, adding a slightly surreal gentleness to the metallic creature. It’s not just verbal responses, either. The robot twists left and right to say no and bows down and up to say yes like it’s nodding or shaking its head.

“These robots run automated missions every day. Each mission uses miles-long, hard-to-understand configuration files. Only technical people can handle them. At the end of each mission, the robots capture a ton of data. There’s no simple way to query all of it on demand. That’s where ChatGPT comes in,” Valdarrama explained. “We show it the configuration files and the mission results. We then ask questions using that context. Put that together with a voice-enabled interface, and we have an awesome way to query our data! We can now ask the robots about past and future missions and get an answer in real-time. ChatGPT interprets the question, parses the files, and formulates the answer.

OpenAI’s exclusive enterprise partner Microsoft has discussed how large language models could be incorporated into robots but started more cautiously with virtual reality tests rather than real-world robots. The response to the video suggests that caution might have been warranted just on public reaction. Boston Dynamics’ dogs tend to draw concern even without a voice. ChatGPT just added to that, according to Valdarrama, but while it’s a fun demo of the potential for ChatGPT in robots, it’s not exactly the Terminator taking over nuclear missiles.

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