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Google Robotics

Google's Eric Schmidt Says People Want Dish-Washing Robots To Clean Up the Kitchen More Than Any Other Kind (cnbc.com) 277

There is nothing that people want robots to be able to do more than to wash the dishes, according to Alphabet Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt. From a report: "When you ask a person what they would like a robot to do, the thing that they would like more than anyone else, is clean up the dishes in the kitchen," the billionaire Google executive says speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum. "That is literally the number one request. And I say this having done this exhaustively," he says. Though you may dream of a robot dishwasher, don't hold your breath for it to happen in the immediate future. "That turns out to be an extraordinarily difficult problem," says Schmidt.
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Google's Eric Schmidt Says People Want Dish-Washing Robots To Clean Up the Kitchen More Than Any Other Kind

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  • Wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @12:32PM (#55611099) Homepage Journal

    oogle's Eric Schmidt Says People Want Dish-Washing Robots To Clean Up the Kitchen More Than Any Other Kind

    Well, that they admit to, anyway. Sex robots will be #1 on people's "want lists", count on it. Once they're any good.

    • Well, not everyone is so hard up in getting a date/spouse as are /.ers.

      • Re:Wait (Score:5, Informative)

        by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @02:19PM (#55611663)

        Well, not everyone is so hard up in getting a date/spouse as are /.ers.

        I have a spouse. I also have a sexbot. They are not mutually exclusive. So why do I have a sexbot? My wife bought it for me before she went on a 4 month business trip overseas. I told her it wasn't necessary, and that I could stay on the porch without any technological help, but she insisted. She picked out the Sai model [realdoll.com], which actually looks similar to her.

        She is back from her trip, but the sexbot is still nice for when she isn't "in the mood". She has an appetite for about 3 times per week, and I prefer about twice that. So the doll makes up the difference.

        • Re:Wait (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Highdude702 ( 4456913 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @02:35PM (#55611785)

          why isnt there an "eww" mod...

        • > She is back from her trip, but the sexbot is still nice for when she isn't "in the mood". She has an appetite for about 3 times per week, and I prefer about twice that. So the doll makes up the difference.

          So you're fucking a doll, while your wife is around (not that it's not bad enough that you have a doll at all) ?
          That's the creepiest thing anybody admitted, ever.

          What happened to good ol' jacking off to internet porn ?
          • Re:Wait (Score:5, Informative)

            by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @09:24PM (#55613503)

            So you're fucking a doll, while your wife is around?

            I presume you are not married, and never had a GF. Otherwise you would know that "around" is not the same as "available".

            What happened to good ol' jacking off to internet porn ?

            The bot is way better than that. If real sex is a ten, then online porn is maybe a two. The bot is a five.

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      No, I'd much rather a dish washing robot.
      I've never found anyone interested in doing the dishes...

      • Re:Wait (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 23, 2017 @01:32PM (#55611441)

        We have had dish washing robots for decades.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dishwasher

        You can even buy them on Amazon.

        • Re:Wait (Score:4, Insightful)

          by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @02:02PM (#55611573) Homepage
          What's the world coming to when people are just too fucking lazy to put the dishes in the dishwasher and turn it on?

          Is Eric Schmidt still washing his dishes by hand?!?
          • What's the world coming to when people are just too fucking lazy to put the dishes in the dishwasher and turn it on?

            It all started when some lazy guy started planting seeds rather than gathering wild roots and berries.

            Lazy people, searching for better and easier solutions, are the reason for progress in the world.

            • “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” - Bill Gates

          • by SirSlud ( 67381 )

            A dishwasher isn't a robot in the sense clearly intended.

            And it doesn't wipe dishes, including difficult to clean pots and pants, or other non-dishwasher safe dish wear, which is really where the demand is coming from.

            If you want to get pedantic, what people want is a dishwasher that can wash every type of dish you'd ever need to wash, at every level of dirtiness. Now that we're approaching something that would have to have the ability to manipulate dishes and make decisions on what to use and how to clean

            • We bought a moderate level Whirlpool dishwasher two years ago. Nothing particularly fancy. It can clean pretty much anything off of dishes, pots and pans. The key seems to be an extended spray / soak / spray / soak (rinse / lather / repeat) function that takes several hours but what the hell - it's just sitting there working. It can do that all night as far as I'm concerned.

              It really changed my outlook on dishwashers. Previous to this unit we've had to pre rinse and basically wash the damn things befor

              • If you want to save yourself the time loading and unloading, this is an easily solved problem with no additional technology required. Certainly not 'robots'.

                Buy two dishwashers and two sets of everything you use regularly in the kitchen. One fills up with dirty stuff while you use the other one like a cupboard with clean stuff in. When youve emptied the clean one, its time to run the dirty one.

                If you don't have space for two fullsize ones, two slimline ones fit in the same space as one fullsize.

              • Most dishwashers are the same now. There's an EU law that requires spare parts to be available for all white goods for 10 years. The unintended consequence of this is that developing bespoke parts is very expensive, because you have to either guarantee production of them for 10 years after the last dishwasher, or stockpile enough that you can guarantee being able to sell them to anyone who asks. That's a huge expense and so now dishwashers are all made from the same set of parts from the same small numbe

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            "What's the world coming to when people are just too fucking lazy to put the dishes in the dishwasher and turn it on?"

            The dishwasher won't clean all the dishes. We don't put our crystal in it because it doesn't get it clean enough (spots and such) and its chipped / broken some of our stemware in the past; so our best wine glasses etc we do by hand. Its also not effective on some of our taller glasses -- if the kids made chocolate milk in a tall glass, and it sits long enough for the 'chocolatey sludge left

          • by g01d4 ( 888748 )

            put the dishes in the dishwasher

            Unfortunately for most people it's not that simple. If you're not running the dishwasher regularly (small household) the dirty dishes can sit in it for awhile. Encrusted food is much harder to clean despite what's advertised. And even with a large household there's also the issue of rinsing dishes before they're loaded. Again that's frequently advertised that that's not necessary - but if that were the case there would be no need for garbage disposals. So the practical realit

          • They're also too lazy to put them away afterwards to make room for more dirty dishes!

        • The real problem is the encrusted/burnt-encrusted (and heavily slimed) pots and pans, which
          A) might not fit in the dishwasher along with the dishes, and
          B) the dishwasher doesn't work on anyway so you have to do them by hand, with a lot of scrubbing.

          That's why they call it a dishwasher, not a pot and pan scrubber.

          • The lazy solution is to stop using pots and pans.

    • And #2 will be a "sex robot washing robot"

    • I'd go for a general purpose maid-bot even if it looked like a refugee from a hardware store. If it looked like Winona Ryder at 21 ... well bonus. But not just to wash dishes, I assume Schmidt is using "clean up the kitchen" as shorthand for a tool that could autonomously clean the whole house and so on.
    • There's always someone:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • I want one to fold my laundry too.

    • In our house, laundry would definitely be near the top of the list.

      A dishwashing machine / robot is actually pretty simple. It's just used slightly differently than the habit most people have. Currently, we put our dirty dish in the sink, perhaps after rinsing it first. A day or two later, we wash / scrub the dried-on food, then put it in the "dishwasher" to finish the job. So five steps done by a human:

      1 Rinse
      2 Put in sink
      3 Scrub dried food
      4 Put in dishwasher
      5 Put in cupboard

      That can be easily reduced t

      • If only they made something like that: https://www.appliancesconnecti... [appliancesconnection.com]{creative}&KW=&pdv=c

        I kid, I kid. But they are nice - we have those at the office.
      • To clarify, I think what most people probably think of for a "dish washing robot" would have the robot clean the dishes that are in the sink. So the human still has to put the dish IN the sink, probably after scraping any big chunks of food into the trash. So that's still the human putting the dish somewhere before the robot does it's job.

        I propose that since the human has to put the dish somewhere, they may as well skip the sink and just put the dish into the robot (dishwasher drawer).

      • That's my wife's workflow. I think it's silly to scrub every dish and then load the dishwasher, so I put them in fairly filthy and only scrub the occasional one that comes out still soiled. She complains about my method because she doesn't like scrubbing "clean" dishes. Oh, well - married life... at least I put the seat down and fold the laundry fresh out of the dryer.

        Incidentally, a dishwasher is a dishwashing robot. I guess people don't want to put the clean dishes away? That seems like a more trivial tas

      • by rh2600 ( 530311 )
        This already exists - has done for years, it's called a Dish Drawer https://www.fisherpaykel.com/n... [fisherpaykel.com]
      • by AC-x ( 735297 )

        So five steps done by a human:

        Why would you do step 2 and 3? After you rinse just put them straight in the dishwasher, mine always had no problem dealing with dry residue.

        Also if you want to kick it up a notch have 2 dishwashers and alternate them so one always acts as storage for clean dishes and the other for your used dirty dishes. Rinse and repeat!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by doctorvo ( 5019381 )

      Simple solution: wrinkle free clothes.

    • I want an automatic closet. Throw clothes in it's direction as I undress for bed. In the morning they should be washed, hung or folded as needed, and put away. Done silently, please.
          A pretty maid, or houseboy if you swing that way, has multiple extra functions, but is also high maintenance.

  • Metal or plastic faced drawers, tile floor with a drain in the middle. You can hose down the floor, countertop, and drawer faces, same as a restaurant kitchen. Kitchens and baths with drained floors are very common outside the US.
  • by pikine ( 771084 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @12:37PM (#55611127) Journal
    I don't know what to make of this. Either people are too lazy to even load a dishwasher and just litter the plates all over their house, or maybe there really is not much robots can do for us because our basic needs are already fulfilled by simple household appliances.
    • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @01:09PM (#55611309) Homepage

      Except that current dishwasher technology is not particularly well suited to all dishes (crystal, china, etc.), nor do they do a good job of getting heavily-soiled pots and pans, or dishes with dried on food clean without pre-washing. Finally, dishwashers are a finite size and will not hold all the dishes from many meals. A well-engineered dishwashing robot will have none of these issues.

      • by pikine ( 771084 )
        Josephine Cochrane invented the modern dishwasher because her maids kept breaking her fine chinas and crystals. She would be sad to know that you think the technology is not doing a good job.
      • You seem to be thinking the dishwasher is the problem. I say the problem is you and your many types of dishes, pots and pans.

        That's like a farmer complaining that his lawnmower can't handle his corn fields.

    • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @01:14PM (#55611335)

      It's not the dishes - as you say, dishwasher is for that and loading is quick.

      How about cleaning up cooking utensils, pots, pans and so on (lots of these, e.g. cast-iron stuff, is not machine-washable). Cleaning up the oven, grill, leftovers, flour that has spread across all level surfaces, bits of dough. Cleaning up after your kids messes up the table by spraying her meal all over the table, or when you yourself accidentally knock that drink to the floor. Cleaning up the fridge after the cheese you've forgotten has decided to start evolving into a new life form. Collecting all the garbage (containers of food ingredients and/or take-out).

      Dishes are a solved problem. Cleaning up the other areas of kitchen: Not so much, apart from paying for a housekeeper.

      • Certainly my least favorite part of cooking...I would rather hang with family or take a walk or something but there is a huge mess waiting for me.
      • Exactly. In looking through the comments so far, it appears /. is still inhabited by young, single people that do very little cooking. I estimate the washing of dishes to be at least half of the time to cook (assuming prep and clean, as "cooking" is usually unattended), and even more time when serving multi-course meals, such as holiday meals for a group of people.

        Taken to its conclusion, time tending to cooking duties can be cut in half at such gatherings. This is worth a lot of money.

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      I don't know what to make of this. Either people are too lazy to even load a dishwasher and just litter the plates all over their house, or maybe there really is not much robots can do for us because our basic needs are already fulfilled by simple household appliances.

      It takes far longer than 5 minutes to load a dishwasher, unless you are single and never cook. The process of cleaning pots and pans by hand, rinsing dishes, scraping off tough to clean food, loading a dishwasher, unloading a dishwasher, and putting them away in the cabinets is easily a half hour of effort for a family of four, if not a little longer.

      That is a significant amount of work to offload; probably more time savings than dishwashers initially introduced.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @02:48PM (#55611869)
      you'd be amazed how little imagination most folks have. It's actually a fairly serious social problem. After the last round of mass shootings there were interviews folks there. Several of who changed their opinion of gun control based solely on personal experiences. I've had friends who fell on hard times after the economic crash of 2008 who's folks were doing pretty good actually and were no help because they just couldn't comprehend the idea of anyone not just being able to work themselves out of any jam because they've always managed to.

      Basically there's a lot of folk who can't grok something they didn't personally experience. If you go back and read the book that word grok came from being able to reach those people was a major part of it.
    • If you have one. In my small off-grid house I don't have room, spare kwh, water, and so on for that kind of utterly wasteful appliance.
  • by fox171171 ( 1425329 ) on Thursday November 23, 2017 @12:45PM (#55611173)

    We already have dishwashers for the washing part, the hard part is getting the robot to collect everything, not break or spill anything, clean the big chunks off, load the dishwasher and run it. Then inspect, unload and put it away.

    The good news is if you can build a robot to do that, it should be a no-brainer to get it to do laundry and garbage duties as well. Probably get it to cook too.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      The good news is if you can build a robot to do that, it should be a no-brainer to get it to do laundry and garbage duties as well. Probably get it to cook too.

      Well I'd like a chef bot. But something tells me that having a robot quality check that the ingredients that nothing is damaged or spoiled or has any foreign elements adds a whole other layer of complexity. The "base elements" like flour and sugar are pretty static but things like fish and meat, fruit and vegetables vary in size, shape and taste and the cooking needs to adapt but without a nose and taste buds it'll have a problem getting feedback. Nothing that is totally unsolvable but I'd think even big in

  • the really nice ones will clean up just about anything except the really big chunks. Give me a robot gardener instead. One that pulls my weeds and keeps the neighborhood association off my back.
    • Ah, what you want is a neighborhood association terminator.

    • the really nice ones will clean up just about anything except the really big chunks. Give me a robot gardener instead. One that pulls my weeds and keeps the neighborhood association off my back.

      A riding mower with a .50 cal machine gun ought to do the trick. Could easily rig up some semi autonomous driving mode to run around and chase people. Bonus points (and lack of jail time) for shooting blanks or tracers.

      • IANAL but I suspect you'll still do jail time if you put a browning on your john deere and send it after people while firing blanks and tracers.
        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          Nah, once the jury finds out you only used it on neighborhood association wonks they'll let you off with a warning....to use live rounds next time or else.

  • the problem is to introduce the standard plates, cups, forks, spoon, ladles, etc. So that a robot can recognize them.

    There should be also a place on each item where robot can take it safely.

    But it is not a technical problem, but a social one. Try to explain to people basically from the stone age, especially at leadership positions, what is standardization, unification, etc. ...
    • If we're going to standardize we might as well put RFIDs in the damn things while we're at it, to make the robots easier to make and thus cheaper.

  • Sure, you have to put the dishes in the dishwasher, but that's pretty easy. A dog walking robot might be good, but if I had a dog, I think I'd rather have some time with my pooch. Robots are best at repetitive tasks, but I can't think of much during my day that I would pay multi-thousands to not do. Maybe folding clothes?

  • Its called a dishwasher. You put for plates etc in; add a tablet and press a botton and they come out clean about 90 mins later - its very good robot
  • In order for the robot to recognize items properly, however, you'll need compatible plates, utensils, stemware, etc.

  • Eric Schmidt didn't just talk about robot dishwashers last weekend. He also said:

    Some fresh sets of eyes would be helpful in tackling security issues and "a new set of brains and talent" is needed.
    Schmidt also said getting good at artificial intelligence will be very important to both governments and businesses in the coming years.
    He noted there are a huge number of computer scientists coming out of the world's top universities who can provide leadership.

    All of which seem much more in line with the
  • Did they only poll nudist colonies? Everyone I know would much rather have a laundry robot that sorts/washes/dries/folds than a dish robot. Dishwashers already do 90%+ of what I want done with dishes.
  • Doing dishes takes so little time. How f**king lazy are people these days? I am pretty lazy when it comes to chores but doing the dishes is just not on my list of tasks to roboticize.
  • When people travel thousands of miles to visit someone they rarely see, but care about very much, who the hell wants to do dishes? This is time that is invaluable and I'm fairly certain even a price of $20,000 will be a worthwhile expense to millions if not tens of millions of households.
  • I just checked under the bench, my "Dishwashing Robot" in a box is still there...

    SRSLY, give me a robot that can vacuum and mop floors properly (ie. not like a roomba), or pick up kids toys, or wash dry and iron clothes. That's higher on my list than a robot that does what my dishwasher already does perfectly well.

    L8r.

  • It's not that. We have dish washers and the few things that can't go in there are washed in no time. Folding the laundry, that's what we want automated.

  • ... thank you, but if you have a robot that cleans - vaccuums, sweeps, dusts, mops - well enough that I don't have to do another round, I'm all ears.

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