Jibo,  a so-called “social robot”

Jibo, a “social” robot with facial and voice recognition, developed by a Boston company is the latest example of the new generation of more intelligent and capable robots. Similar to Alexa, it interacts with users and delivers a “personal report” of news, weather, commute times and other information. The robot “learns” from interacting with users.

Already robots are in drones, cars, operating rooms, on assembly lines, used in the military and at home.

Sanjit Dang, the investment director at Intel Capital, contributed a recent article to, in which he discussed advances since a 2015 piece written by researcher Gill Pratt. The overseer of robotics technology as a manager of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Pratt said robot capabilities had crossed a key threshold. Improvements in electric energy storage and the exponential growth of computation power and data storage, he argued, had enabled robots to learn and make decisions informed by the experiences of other robots.

Robots have evolved further in the past three years, and this new population of robots is growing at a faster rate. The new generation of robots is much smaller, more perceptive and more collaborative than their predecessors. Also, the flood of venture capital into the space ensures a growth of the technology in distribution centers and warehouses in coming years.

Consider that between 2016 and 2017, venture capital investments in industrial robots more than tripled, from $402 million to $1.2 billion. Five years ago, startups in this same space raised just $195 million.

Every industry, from insurance providers to delivery services, is calling for and utilizing greater numbers of  robots, though most are still being used in manufacturing.

The day of affordable robots for everyone is nearly here. News reports on sex robots show they are in high demand in certain countries. Also, Sophia the conversational robot from Hancock Robotics made a splash in the world media by appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, as well as being granted a partial citizenship by Saudi Arabia.

Robots are nothing new certainly, but their uses, sizes, and technological abilities, have leap-frogged other products that might be considered part of the AI revolution, such as autonomous vehicles.


Darpa Robot Horses