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Nvidia announces “moonshot” to create embodied human-level AI in robot form

Enlarge / An illustration of a humanoid robot created by Nvidia. (credit: Nvidia)

In sci-fi films, the rise of humanlike artificial intelligence often comes hand in hand with a physical platform, such as an android or robot. While the most advanced AI language models so far seem mostly like disembodied voices echoing from an anonymous data center, they might not remain that way for long. Some companies like Google, Figure, Microsoft, Tesla, Boston Dynamics, and others are working toward giving AI models a body. This is called “embodiment,” and AI chipmaker Nvidia wants to accelerate the process.

“Building foundation models for general humanoid robots is one of the most exciting problems to solve in AI today,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang in a statement. Huang spent a portion of Nvidia’s annual GTC conference keynote on Monday going over Nvidia’s robotics efforts. “The next generation of robotics will likely be humanoid robotics,” Huang said. “We now have the necessary technology to imagine generalized human robotics.”

To that end, Nvidia announced Project GR00T, a general-purpose foundation model for humanoid robots. As a type of AI model itself, Nvidia hopes GR00T (which stands for “Generalist Robot 00 Technology” but sounds a lot like a famous Marvel character) will serve as an AI mind for robots, enabling them to learn skills and solve various tasks on the fly. In a tweet, Nvidia researcher Linxi “Jim” Fan called the project “our moonshot to solve embodied AGI in the physical world.”

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