We already knew that it is difficult for a robot to bring a drink. Nevertheless, Microsoft sees strategic opportunities to develop an assistant robot that can support people at work in collecting a drink.
Strategic Prototyping Team
We demonstrated a robot to assist (not replace) a human receptionist. Our design philosophy is based on Reddy's 90 percent AI principle for cooperation between humans and robots: 90 percent of routine tasks are handled by a robot, while the remaining 10 percent of exceptional tasks are handled by a human. The receptionist is the leader and the robot is a follower; the robot works only under the leader. Using this principle, we have designed and implemented functionalities for this assistant robot, such as a knowledge engine to increase the receptionist's ability to answer questions, a situation engine to communicate the receptionist's needs and a conversation engine for verbal interaction with the receptionist and clients.