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Microsoft is Building Your Robot Boss

August 2, 2012 | William Zimmerman


By David Goldman, CNN Money Tech

When your boss is taking a holiday on some tropical island, it's usually cause for celebration. Soon, though, your supervisor could be in the office and on vacation at the same time.

At its research lab in Redmond, Wash., Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) is working on a robot that will allow people to be in two places at once.

Microsoft's robot comes with a pair of cameras, a high-definition display and wheels. It's all controlled over the Internet by a user sitting in front of a computer with a webcam. That setup gives the user the ability to "see" and roam around an area, and to chat "face to face" with someone standing in front of the robot.



The robot proxy's camera can be trained to focus on an individual who is speaking, and as that person moves, the robot turns or moves along. That makes everything from a conference room meeting to a "walk and talk" possible.

So, while sipping Mai Tais by the pool, bosses of the future could simultaneously be making the rounds and reprimanding employees for failing to put cover sheets on their TPS reports.

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