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Elon Musk's OpenAI hopes to develop a robot butler

Elon Musk's OpenAI is working on a robot butler.

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

It's a little bit like Rosie from "The Jetsons" -- Elon Musk's artificial intelligence company OpenAI is working to create a very capable robot that could help you around the house. The company's CTO Greg Brockman and co-chairs Elon Musk and Sam Altman published a blog post Monday announcing OpenAI's plans to develop what is basically a robot butler.

"We're working to enable a physical robot (off-the-shelf; not manufactured by OpenAI) to perform basic housework," the post reads. "There are existing techniques for specific tasks, but we believe that learning algorithms can eventually be made reliable enough to create a general-purpose robot. More generally, robotics is a good testbed for many challenges in AI."

This robot would be able to perform tasks specified by the user with natural language, and will be able to ask for clarification about a task if it doesn't understand.

"Today, there are promising algorithms for supervised language takes such as question answering, syntactic parsing, and machine translation but there aren't any for more advanced linguistic goals, such as the ability to carry a conversation, the ability to fully understand a document, and the ability to follow complex instructions in natural language," they wrote. "We expect to develop new learning algorithms and paradigms to tackle these problems."

As with other forms of artificial intelligence that have become skilled at games like poker, for instance, this OpenAI robot will improve upon skills through game playing and problem solving, according to the post.

The company is not alone in this quest. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said one of his 2016 New Year's resolutions is to build a "simple AI to run my home and help me with my work. You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man."

OpenAI stressed that work on intelligent robot butlers is "just getting started," so don't expect to see C-3PO or R2D2 serving drinks or vacuuming in your living room anytime soon.

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