May 14, 2024

FIgure 01 + OpenAI. Speech-to-Speech humanoids are here

Figure AI. Adressing labor shortages with humanoid robots on an emerging market.

The Future of Humanoid Robots

When we envision the future of humanoid robots, a world where automated beings coexist, work, and even communicate with humans may not seem as far-fetched as it once did. With advancements in technology and artificial intelligence, humanoid robots are gradually becoming a reality, addressing labor shortages and paving the way for autonomous humanoid workers.

Addressing Labor Shortages

A pressing issue in today's labor market is the increasing number of unfilled jobs. According to Figure AI, there are 10 million unfilled jobs in the United States, with 7 million of those job openings for essential roles in warehouses, transportation, and retail. However, only 6 million people are available to fill these open positions, and attrition rates remain high.

This gap in the labor market presents a unique opportunity for humanoid robots. As key warehouse suppliers predict they will run out of people to hire by 2024 (for very controversial reasons, like high workforce turnover for the positions), the chance for deploying autonomous humanoid workers on a global scale grows.

Deploying Autonomous Humanoid Workers

The solution to the labor shortage problem can be found in the development and deployment of autonomous humanoid workers. Figure AI, a prominent company in the humanoid robot space, is committed to building a commercially viable humanoid workforce. Having raised $675 million in funding from tech industry's big players like Microsoft, Nvidia, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Figure AI is set to develop next-generation AI models for humanoid robots in partnership with OpenAI.

The global humanoid robot market has been predicted to reach $154 billion by 2035 by Goldman Sachs, and the industry could potentially be worth $3 trillion by 2050 according to Macquarie. These predictions indicate significant growth potential and investment opportunities in the field of humanoid robotics.

Despite the challenges, Figure AI remains aggressively optimistic, focusing on the long-term future impact of improved access to goods and services, safer working conditions, and fulfilling work opportunities. As the future unfolds, it seems clear that humanoid robots will play a significant role, bringing us closer to a world where humans and robots coexist and cooperate in harmony.

Collaboration with OpenAI

The future of humanoid robots is closely tied to advancements in artificial intelligence. A key player in this development is OpenAI with its Chat GPT-4o, which has partnered with Figure AI to enhance AI capabilities and drive development in robotics technology.

Enhancing AI Capabilities

OpenAI models provide high-level visual and language intelligence while Figure neural networks deliver fast, low-level, dexterous robot actions. This collaboration showcases the power of AI in robotics, with the video demonstrating everything done by neural networks.

The communication process involves a Whisper Like Model, Base LLM, and TTS-like model chain, with the use of filler words to facilitate quicker responses. The LLM agent-like framework is likely used to control the movements of the robot, demonstrating the complexity of the AI-driven system.

Concerns have been raised about the time delay associated with GPT models, which could limit their real-time application in tasks requiring immediate reactions. Suggestions include combining automation controllers with GPT for real-time sensor systems and automation, emphasizing the need for speed and safety in robotics.

The AI community anticipates advancements in AI speeds to handle real-time tasks more effectively. They are eager to see demo videos showcasing the robot's capabilities, including unconventional tasks, highlighting curiosity about the robot's abilities and performance in different scenarios.

Advancements in Robotics Technology

In the field of robotics technology, Figure AI is making strides with ChatGPT API to develop next-generation AI models for humanoid robots. Figure AI will also utilize Microsoft's Azure cloud services for AI infrastructure, training, and storage. This collaboration highlights the crucial role of advanced AI technology in the development and operation of humanoid robots.

Figure's humanoid robots are designed with 25 degrees of motion, including the ability to bend over fully and lift a box from the ground to a high shelf. The company has plans to add hands to increase flexibility. The prototypes are currently focused on walking and are intended to undergo testing and refinement to handle various warehouse applications, with a pilot of 50 robots slated for a real warehouse setting in 2024.

Furthermore, Figure's humanoid, Figure 01, uses advanced electric motors to enable smoother movement, giving the prototypes a more natural gait compared to the hydraulically run Atlas robot. The goal is to achieve a walking Turing test to appear convincingly human-like in motion.

These advancements in AI and robotics technology are paving the way for a future where humanoid robots are an integral part of society, performing tasks that humans are unwilling or lack the skills to do. The collaboration between OpenAI and Figure AI is a testament to the potential of AI in shaping the future of humanoid robots.

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Author: Sergey Nuzhnyy.

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