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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:14 PM

Telepresence robots let employees 'beam' into work

Source: AP-Excite

By TERENCE CHEA

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) - Engineer Dallas Goecker attends meetings, jokes with colleagues and roams the office building just like other employees at his company in Silicon Valley.

But Goecker isn't in California. He's more than 2,300 miles away, working at home in Seymour, Indiana.

It's all made possible by the Beam - a mobile video-conferencing machine that he can drive around the Palo Alto offices and workshops of Suitable Technologies. The 5-foot-tall device, topped with a large video screen, gives him a physical presence that makes him and his colleagues feel like he's actually there.

"This gives you that casual interaction that you're used to at work," Goecker said, speaking on a Beam. "I'm sitting in my desk area with everybody else. I'm part of their conversations and their socializing."

FULL story at link.



Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20121231/DA3GQJL00.html

17 replies, 2810 views

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:19 PM

1. Sheldon Cooper thought of this a few years ago.

Straight out of a Big Bang Theory episode.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:23 PM

2. I have to do extra work to cover the people who "work from home"

all they would see is me bitching

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:26 PM

3. There's a video of it in action on the company's websitie

https://www.suitabletech.com/

Thing is, it looks so ridiculous rolling down a hallway, I'm not convinced that it's not a prank by the Yes Men.

Business week covered it too, btw:
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-09-27/beam-yourself-anywhere-for-16-000


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Response to htuttle (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:24 PM

8. thank you i was trying to envision- awesome is someways ridiculous in others

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Response to htuttle (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 10:58 AM

13. can it use a urinal?

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:29 PM

4. but can it project work clothes on over your jammies?

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:32 PM

5. I got fired after my telepresence robot

hit on Maria in Accounts Payable's telepresence robot.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:41 PM

6. the phrase Over Compensating comes to mind

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:44 PM

7. See the movie "Sleep Dealers" for the dark side of telepresence workers.

 

Jobs can be outsourced to cheap labor countries even for construction work inside the U.S.


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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:30 PM

9. virtual labor?

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:59 AM

10. the only thing we would do with that thing in my office is set up obstacle courses

or we might just carry it down to the parking garage and let it roam around there, or someone might just boot it down the stairs.

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Response to Sen. Walter Sobchak (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 10:28 AM

11. Nothing an ethernet cable strung between two cubicles couldn't disable. n/t

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 10:45 AM

12. Then once enough pattern matching software is enabled the "worker" will become superfluous

A computer doesn't have to actually be able to "understand" something in order to do it, all it has to do is match the patterns, something software is getting better and better at all the time.

Basically the idea behind the "Chinese Room".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room

The Chinese room is a thought experiment presented by John Searle. It supposes that there is a program that gives a computer the ability to carry on an intelligent conversation in written Chinese. If the program is given to someone who speaks only English to execute the instructions of the program by hand, then in theory, the English speaker would also be able to carry on a conversation in written Chinese. However, the English speaker would not be able to understand the conversation. Similarly, Searle concludes, a computer executing the program would not understand the conversation either.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:38 PM

14. Some day, even the CEO could be replaced by computers

Maybe the shareholders too.

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Response to daleo (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:07 PM

15. Most CEOs could have been replaced by a computer years ago

Hell, some of them could be replaced by an abacus.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 12:02 PM

16. There are few who doubt that AI will match human intelligence within the next few decades.

There are already computing systems capable of matching the intelligence of human children, so at this point it's more of an evolutionary race to see who can build the first fully functioning AI that can match our own human intelligence.

Once that happens, all bets are off. We have already built some highly capable humanoid robots that simply lack the intelligence to do useful things. Couple those robots with a wifi-connected AI (no need to risk the AI by placing it in the robot itself), and you have a device that can do nearly any human job 24/7 while demanding no pay, no breaks, no benefits, and no rights.

It sounds like sci fi, but talk to any computer scientist and they'll tell you flat out that we're only a few decades away from this being a reality. Most of the pieces are ALREADY developed, and it's mostly just a matter of getting everything polished and advanced enough to be useful at this point.

Self driving cars used to be the stuff of sci fi too. And yet, they became completely legal in California yesterday, and I was passed by one on the 101 a few months ago (when they were still only "sorta legal").

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

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