If you thought I, Robot-style robots were just a sci-fi thing, now would be a good time to rethink your views on the world.
Hotel chain Hilton Worldwide and IBM today announced they're partnering up to bring a robot named Connie to life, and they're going to keep it in one of the hotels to greet the guests and give them advice on local tourist attractions.
Yes, Connie (named after Hilton's founder Conrad Hilton), is a NAO humanoid robot, powered by IBM's Watson supercomputer, capable of learning and adapting to its environment.
Connie will pull knowledge from Watson and WayBlazer (cognitive travel platform), and will use a combination of Watson APIs (Dialog, Speech to Text, Text to Speech, Natural Language Classifier) to give tourists information on local attractions, restaurants and similar things.
Of course, the robot will not be left on its own, it will work side-by-side with Hilton's Team Members.
It will be stationed near the reception at the Hilton McLean in Virginia.
“We’re focused on reimagining the entire travel experience to make it smarter, easier and more enjoyable for guests,” said Jonathan Wilson, vice president, product innovation and brand services, Hilton Worldwide. “By tapping into innovative partners like IBM Watson, we’re wowing our guests in the most unpredictable ways.”
"This project with Hilton and WayBlazer represents an important shift in human-machine interaction, enabled by the embodiment of Watson's cognitive computing," said Rob High, IBM fellow and vice president and chief technology officer of IBM Watson. "Watson helps Connie understand and respond naturally to the needs and interests of Hilton's guests -- which is an experience that's particularly powerful in a hospitality setting, where it can lead to deeper guest engagement."