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The robot revolution is underway, starting with the hospitality industry.
Today, Hilton Worldwide revealed their newest employee: Connie, a robot made in collaboration with IBM. Powered by Watson (IBM’s AI program) and WayBlazer, Connie, who is named for Hilton’s founder Conrad Hilton, informs guests about local attractions, offers restaurant recommendations and helps improve guests’ overall hotel experience.
Right now, Connie is learning the ropes at the Hilton McLean in Virginia, perched on the reception desk. A white-and-blue figure, she (he? it?) stands about a foot-and-a-half high. She looks like a lot of other robots out there right now with her semi jerky, near-constant movements and glowing green eyes, but Connie is different—she learns. As she interacts more and more with guests, she is able to better adapt and improve her responses and suggestions. "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, vice president and chief technology officer of IBM Watson, in a press release. "Watson helps Connie understand and respond naturally to the needs and interests of Hilton's guests.”
Is this the future of hotels? We might need our robot drinking buddy to help us cope.