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MIT CSAIL teaches a robot to follow contextual voice commands



MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab has devised a method by which robots can understand and respond to voice commands, stated in clear, plain language. The system is advanced enough to understand contextual commands, too, including references made to previously mentioned commands and objects.

The so-called ComText system (short for “commands in context”) created by CSAIL researchers provides “Alexa-like” vocal control of robots, which can demonstrated a contextual understanding not just of previous commands, but also of the objects they interact with and their surrounding environment.

This all adds up to a resulting robot that users can interact with in the same way they might interact with another person; interfacing with robots is clearly a big challenge, and a potentially huge barrier to their commercial introduction and use in general consumer-facing applications. Even in industry, it would be far easier to have humans and robots working together if they understood natural language voice commands.

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