From a showmanship standpoint, Google’s new robot project PaLM-SayCan is incredibly cool. Humans talk, and a humanoid robot listens, and acts. In the best case, the robot can read between the lines, moving beyond the kind of boring direct speech (“bring me pretzels from the kitchen”) that most robots traffic in (at best) to indirect speech, in which a robot diagnoses your needs and caters to them without bothering you with the details. WIRED reports an example in which a
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