From the Digiworld Summit: How data builds the anatomy of robots

Montpellier - one of the 9 cities that recently received the FrenchTech label - hosts the 36th edition of the Digiworld Summit, an event gathering a series of the brilliant tech minds of France in domains ranging from mobile to gaming and up to smart homes and connected objects. Bruno Bonnell, founder and CEO of Robopolis, an important company in the field of robotics, opened the Digiworld Summit on the 18th of November with a visionary speech about the intricate connection between Big Data and robots. The BIME Analytics team was present and engaged with Bruno Bonnell in a dialogue about the implications of Big Data and cloud analytics in the field of robotics.

His perspective is based upon the fact that Big Data cannot represent anything without robots - robots that will not only be intelligent tools but wise machines which will know how to make Big Data truly efficient and useful for each human being and mankind as a whole.

After Gen X, the rise of Millenials and the development of Generation Z, he explained that the new Digital Natives will soon change the way robots are seen and used. Robots will no longer be restricted to large factories or to a few homes (on their way to become smart homes). Their role in science-fiction movies will be closer to reality and nations not fearing the imagined replacement of humans by robots or the supposedly sudden rebellion of artificial intelligence against its creator will become part of what Bruno Bonnell calls the Robolution.

He described a world not too distant in our future - where we will truly benefit from companion robots - not only functional domestic robots that do our house cleaning and manage our energy consumption. But for companion robots to be helpful when it comes to our needs, our health, our tasks, they will need to understand us and learn who we are - and what better way to do this than through data, be it our medical records, our task history or our social feed? Bonnell mentioned that even though this vision of the future might seem like the awakening of another human utopia, this will require us to digitally (re)build our life to make Big Data robotics work for us, both at a personal and professional level.

A powerful example (cited article is in French) that he gave is of an experiment professor Michael Jordan did at MIT by analyzing 175 million taxi routes in Manhattan through sensors installed on the cars. The professor found out that if each 2 travellers accepted to share their ride and prolong it with 2 minutes, the taxi traffic in Manhattan would be reduced by 40%. Consequently, if the 2 travelers accepted to prolong the ride with 5 minutes, the reduction would be at 75%. But, amazing as these may sound, Bruno Bonnell highlights the fact that one would need a powerful analytics machine to find and allocate in realtime the ideal combinations and trajectories for each pair of travelers. Once again, Big Data cannot represent anything without robots.

His presence at the Digiworld Summit in Montpellier was also complemented by the telepresence of one his colleagues through a robot that creates - as he coins it - the Smart Presence. A presence which is becoming pervasive in our lives - essential for the future of the global medical field and decisive at an international level because he thinks that “the countries which will be the most advanced in 2050 will be the ones which will exploit at maximum the data of their territory.”

Bonnell believes that society has 3 main categories of people to debate, manage and implement these ideas: the explorers, the entrepreneurs and the politicians. Although he considers himself as an entrepreneur, his speeches, books and organizations that he leads for advancing the field of robotics (Syrobo, the French robotics organization, Innorobo, the robotics summit, etc.) make him one of the entrepreneurs who continues to be successful because of his explorer personality.

Bruno Bonnell’s comments were extremely well received in one of the most advanced smart cities in France. Our team was proud that Montpellier received his visit.