IBM Watson Has A New Job Powering A Robotic Hilton Hotel Concierge

Image courtesy of Hilton Hotels

Artificial intelligence is here, and now it’s hanging out in the lobby of a Hilton Hotel as a robot concierge: IBM’s AI software Watson has been put to use powering a an electronic helper focused on hospitality.

Connie — named after the hotel’s founder, Conrad Hilton — is an Aldebaran Nao robot standing at two-and-half-feet tall, and for now, she’s working at the front desk at the Hilton McLean Hotel in Virginia, reports Mashable.

She gets her brains from IBM and WayBlazer, and can answer all those questions common for hotel guests to ask (in many languages): where’s the pool? Where’s the best place to eat near here? She can’t check guests in yet, however.

“It’s not just about questions and answers, it’s about having a conversation,” explained IBM Watson CTO and VP Rob High to Mashable. “We’re using this period to learn to observe, to gather and better understanding of what guests actually need, to understand what is more natural for them,” he added.

Connie also uses her head, body, and arms to gesture or explain her answers to guests, to help get her point across.

She isn’t the first hotel robot out there, of course. Starwood hotels currently have a robot bellboy from Savioke that helps guests at their rooms and gathers Tweets as tips. And in Japan, the Hen-na hotel only employes 10 humans, with the rest of the staff filled out by robots. The concierge of that hotel is a velociraptor sporting a blue bowtie, notes Ars Technica UK.