Amazon kicked off its inaugural re:MARS convention with a bang on Tuesday night time in entrance of a packed ballroom on the Aria in Las Vegas. Senior vice chairman of units and companies Dave Limp headlined the primary keynote alongside Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert and Disney Analysis’s Morgan Pope and Tony Dohl, after which the group was handled to autonomous acrobats and an handle from Robert Downey Jr.
Limp started by outlining the 4 pillars of re:MARS, which largely mirror these of MARS, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ annual invitation-only gathering of tech luminaries. The primary is machine studying and the second automation, adopted by robotics and house.
“It began with machine studying. It’s on the basis of every thing that [Amazon] does, [and] it is going to be key to the invention that we have to do,” mentioned Limp. “It’s a renaissance … robotics is an space of unimaginable development, and it’s about seeing how robotics can additional our lives.”
This development has coincided with the Seattle firm’s migration from a centralized machine studying strategy to a decentralized strategy, which started 4 to 5 years in the past, Limp mentioned. In November 2018, he instructed the Wall Road Journal that 10,000 staff had been engaged on Amazon’s digital assistant and the Echo units it powers, up from 5,000 slightly over a yr in the past.
“Automation executed accurately is invisible to buyer[s] — it’s simply pleasant,” mentioned Limp, who took the chance to focus on re:MARS’ spectacular visitor checklist of astronauts, artists, engineers, PhDs, entrepreneurs, and NBA gamers, in addition to the founders and cofounders of family manufacturers like Coursera, Aurora, and iRobot.
The “1000’s” of registered re:MARS attendees hail from 46 nations in complete, mentioned Limp.
“We’ve individuals within the viewers that invented the core foundations of robotics and the web itself,” he added. “We also have a Golden Globe winner, an Olympic gold medalist, and 5 NBA championship rings represented within the viewers tonight.”
Raibert demoed the most recent improvements from Boston Dynamics, a Massachusetts firm specializing in extremely articulated utility robots. An onstage demo video confirmed Atlas, a bipedal humanoid robotic, utilizing its electrically powered and hydraulically actuated joints to govern bins.
Due to power management, Raibert mentioned, Atlas can to find and grasp objects with out markers and even package deal them collectively.
“To have the correct strategy [to robotics], you actually need to take a holistic strategy and mix what the software program is doing with the bodily machine and its design and its interplay with bodily world,” he added. “The Atlas robotic has plenty of 3D-printed and punctiliously innovated components that give it very excessive ranges of mechanical and bodily efficiency that actually dovetail with the sorts of controls we do.”
Pope and Dohl had been the following to current onstage — the pair detailed Disney Analysis’s growth of nimble machines able to touchdown flips, twists, rolls, and different gymnastic feats exactly each time. The trick was mastering the legal guidelines of angular momentum and velocity, they mentioned.
“We began working with a full-scale determine,” defined Pope, as he queued up a video playlist of robots finishing triple backflips and a forthcoming mannequin — the Mark II — with even better dexterity. “[B]ecause we’re in an leisure house … [this] lets us do issues that perhaps aren’t possible within the area for some time, however I hope that they’re a minimum of inspirational.”
Robert Downey Jr. of Disney’s Avengers fame closed out the ceremony with commentary that blended the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a historical past of AI and improvements, his private struggles with dependancy and the pressures of celeb, and banter reverse someday costar Matt Damon.
“By Hollywood osmosis, for the final 11 years or so I’ve been steeped within the precise historical past of AI and house stuff because it occurred and is going on in actuality,” he mentioned. “I feel it’s an important learn.”
Downey acknowledged the tech business’s flaws, noting particularly that it “has an extended method to go” with respect to inclusion. However he expressed confidence in its skill to have an effect on change on the earth, which is why he launched the Footprint Coalition with a dedication to considerably “clear up” the planet inside 11 years.
“I’m going to get precise good individuals round me, after which in 11 years, after I’m 65, if we’ve made a notable dent in what I feel is a large menace to our future, I’m going to throw the nuttiest retirement social gathering you’ve ever seen,” Downey instructed the group. “And also you’ll be invited.”