An Interview with Aaron Saunders from Boston Dynamics: Answering Your Robotics Questions

Boston Dynamics CTO, Aaron Saunders, will be having a Q&A with TechCrunch’s robotics newsletter Actuator. The topic of discussion will be centered around the future of robotics and the role of generative AI.

When asked about the role generative AI will play in the future of robotics, Saunders highlighted the major shift in how machine learning models are created. He expressed excitement in the opportunities to create conversational interfaces, improve computer vision functions, and enable new customer-facing capabilities such as visual question answering.

Saunders expressed that humanoids aren’t necessarily the best form factor for all tasks. He cited an example of designing a custom robot, Stretch, to move boxes more efficiently and effectively than a human. However, he still sees great potential in the long-term pursuit of general-purpose robotics, as the humanoid form factor matches the world built around the human form.

In terms of the next major category for robotics after manufacturing and warehouses, Saunders believes that the next wave will likely happen in areas like construction and healthcare. He highlighted the large workforces and high demand for skilled labor as compelling opportunities in those sectors.

When asked about the timeframe for true general-purpose robots, Saunders acknowledged that there are many hard problems standing between today and truly general-purpose robots. He expressed optimism in the acceleration of technology and the potential for tomorrow’s consumer opportunity and the general-purpose future.

As for home robots beyond vacuums, Saunders believes that we may see additional introduction of robots into the home in the next decade, but for very limited and specific tasks. He emphasized the need for multifunctional in-home robots that deliver value to the broad consumer market, with a timeframe of more than a decade away.

Saunders highlighted the importance of tracking progress in key technologies like computers, perception sensors, and power sources for AI to achieve the physical embodiment needed to interact with the world around us. He expressed excitement in the trends of technology enabling small innovative companies to create new and exciting products.

In conclusion, Aaron Saunders shared his valuable insights on the future of robotics and the role of generative AI. His optimism and excitement for the potential advancements in robotics reflect the ongoing developments and progress in the field. His expertise and perspective shed light on the evolving landscape of robotics and the promising future ahead.


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