Scientists have predicted that jobs intended for humans will soon be conquered by machines — well, Hilton Hotels has already started using robots. Considered the first of its kind, Connie is a friendly robot concierge developed by IBM.
Named after the hotel chain's founder, Conrad Hilton, Connie is a 2.5-foot-tall Aldebaran Nao robot equipped with IBM Watson and WayBlazer intelligence. As a result, it is capable of answering dozens of routine questions that are usually asked to front desk officers like where to dine, arrangement of tours and which transportation to use.
"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 of Hilton Worldwide.
An Interactive Robot Concierge
Connie is stationed near the reception area at Hilton in McLean, Virginia. The robot is learning to interact with guests and respond to their questions in a friendly manner. At first, the robot remains still until a guest approaches it and says "Hi Connie!" The robot will then look toward the guest's direction, its eyes even change colors to show that it is paying attention.
The Hilton robot concierge is equipped with a combination of Watson APIs like Dialog, Speech-to-Text, Text-to-Speech and Natural Language Classifier. It can answer a wide array of questions typically asked by new guests like hotel amenities, hours of operation, services and tour packages.
The robot is a "learning" robot, which means that with more guest interactions, the more it absorbs pieces of information, develops its answers and adapts to all questions asked. The hotel staff can also access the robot's database to improve answers and responses.
Computing Technology Platform: New Era In Computing Systems
Connie is powered by Watson, a cognitive computing technology platform that enables robots to understand the world just like how humans do. They use learning, senses and experience.
Watson answers questions by learning a new subject. It digs into related materials loaded into the system. Pairs of questions and answers are then added to the system on a specific subject.
Then it answers a question by searching millions of documents to find thousands of possible answers. It has the capability to collect evidence through algorithm and ranks all possible answers.
All its answers are based on quality evidence and it makes sure it gives out the best answer to a particular question.