The Future Robot Summit, held here in London last year, was probably thought of as an experiment in robotics, although around 150 speakers took place during the eight-day event.

This year is certainly the same: a huge all-day conference of not-for-profit industry startups.

The discussions centre on the challenge of finding products that work with the ‘new capabilities of robotics’, namely artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and computational systems.

Dr Tom Fitzgerald, from the European Joint Centre for Artificial Intelligence, explains: “Once we have arrived at a breakthrough we have to slow down.

“A technology that we would confidently believe will give us incredible social interaction is not reality yet. The definition of AI is being reconsidered, and we don’t yet have all the answers.

“Unfortunately there is a lot of activity and enthusiasm around these ideas, but we don’t yet see a definitive and validated method for everyday use.”

I can understand the appeal of the idea of the Future Robot Summit, but these types of companies are just the sort of organisations that sometimes send out a cliche which has a negative connotation – what they fail to understand is that for these things to work, they need to be tested.

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