Mia Gardner | 21 May 2018
Naturally, the concept of ultra-advanced robots have not always been positive, with movies like The Terminator quickly making people afraid that ultra-advanced robots were just one bad day away from wiping out the human race. But, don’t worry; the concept of robots turning on their creators is ridiculous, and very much based on a lack of understanding of just how artificial intelligence works. So thankfully, Amazon’s latest project, codenamed Vesta, is very unlikely to turn on its owners.
Information on Vesta is currently vague, but reports say that Amazon have been working on the robot for a few years already. A release date is apparently being set for 2019, but Amazon has not yet confirmed this. What has been confirmed is the nature of the robot, which Amazon says they hope to make an essential part of every modern household.
Vesta will, Amazon has said, be capable of helping in the kitchen by reading recipes, help children with their homework, and just as easily help a person manage their finances. This will free up so much time for people to do the things they really enjoy doing, like playing a casino game, watching TV or even getting in an extra hour or two of sleep. How exactly the robot will do this is still unknown, but from the sounds of it Vesta will be a multi-purpose system, adaptable to what is required. It sounds great, but is this just a case of over-hyping what is essentially a series of phone applications?
Amazon has been frustratingly secretive about the exact specifications of the robot. Many first suggested that the robot would simply be a sort of portable computer, like an ultra-advanced tablet, with some interesting and intuitive AI functionality. But these rumours were silenced by news that Amazon has been hiring the best robotics engineers in the business. And, more interestingly, it has been said that the Amazon’s Lab126 research and development department were most interested in self-navigating robotic technology.
So, if anything, Vesta will be a device that is capable of moving around environments. But this still isn’t much to go on. Whether the robot will simply amble around the house, spouting advice to people who seem to need it, or accompany people who call for it, still hasn’t been specified.
Of course, Vesta will not be the first robot available to the general public. There have been a number of attempts to introduce robots, but all have fallen short. Mostly because of the outrageous price attached to advanced robotics. The only notable successful range of robots has been the Roomba automated vacuum cleaners. And even those were limited in their adoption rate.
So the real question is not to how advanced Vesta will be, but how practical and affordable it will be. And, most importantly, if it will be the first robot seen as an essential household product, rather than a short-lived novelty. Hopes are naturally very high, given how long the human race has been imagining household robots that take us firmly into the science fiction future.
The nature and purpose of Vesta will become clearer as Amazon releases more information. In the meantime, we can all but hope that the time has finally come for robots to start becoming a common sight.