In May, a Vancouver-based technology company unveiled its sixth-generation robot, Phoenix.
Sanctuary, bent on developing human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots since 2018, powers Phoenix through Carbon, an AI control system that is designed to give the robot a human-like intelligence.
“We designed Phoenix to be the most sensor-rich and physically capable humanoid ever built and to enable Carbon’s rapidly growing intelligence to perform the broadest set of work tasks possible,” Geordie Rose, co-founder and CEO, stated at the time.
Shy of six feet tall and weighing in at 155 pounds, as of this week Phoenix now stands among TIME’s Best Inventions.
“We’re incredibly honoured that our mission and work have been recognized by TIME,” Rose said this week.
The annual list from TIME compiles the world’s interesting and impactful inventions, ranking Phoenix under the “Robotics” category as a “co-worker.”
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Rose asserts that, as birth rates decline and jobs remain unfilled, “current labour challenges will only get worse as time goes on without a technology-based solution, like Phoenix.”
Rose says Phoenix boasts industry-leading robotic hands that feature human-like dexterity, fine manipulation, and a sense of touch, which renders the robot “uniquely suited to perform work.”
While many robots in development lean toward specializations that are tailored for certain industries or particular situations, Phoenix is instead a jack-of-all-trades. The robot isn’t trying to be better than human workers at any one thing, but rather is aiming to replicate a broad swath of human worker abilities.
“The goal is that our general-purpose robots will be capable of doing any work that people can do,” Rose stated for TIME.
Showcasing this capacity, Sanctuary successfully completed the first-ever “deployment of a unique system designed to deliver the world’s first human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots at a customer commercial facility.” In other words, Phoenix folded clothes at a retail store in Langley.
Phoenix’s specialization is that it has none, and that’s exactly what Rose believes is necessary to alleviate global labour market stresses and free up humanity’s time.
“Sanctuary technology has already successfully deployed to commercial sites which proved our proprietary AI training process is effective and that the technology is commercially viable,” he says. “We remain relentlessly committed and optimistic in our pursuit to creating a future where everyone can work more safely, efficiently, and sustainably.”