Darren Huston – Should Robots Ever look like us

Humanoid robots are a recognizable trope in popular culture, but do machines look a bit creepy and possibly harmful like us?

Darren Huston Priceline tops on hotel bookings

Whether it’s the robotics books by Isaac Asimov, the 1980s film character Johnny 5, Hollywood’s Avengers: The Age of Ultron or the sci-fi drama Humans by Channel 4, there has long been a fascination with robots becoming sensitive in popular culture-humans who can experience emotions and human-like consciousness.

But how realistic is the prospect of robots that become almost indistinguishable from humans-and desirable?

Priceline 24% growth in hotel rooms:Darren Huston

Ben Goertzel, the creator of Sophia, a Hanson Robotics-based social humanoid robot from Hong Kong, thinks that robots should look like humans to assist “break down doubts and reservations that individuals may have” about interacting with them.

“Because individuals like them, you’ll have humanoid robots,” he informs the BBC. “They’d rather give orders or complain about their girlfriend to a humanoid robot than to the Roomba [a vacuum cleaner robot].” “I think [Softbank’s] pepper robot is very ugly. It’s kind of like a rolling kiosk. Sophia’s going to look at you in the eye; it’s going to mirror your facial movements.

There are now 20 Sophia robots in existence, six of which are used worldwide to deliver speeches and show the technology.

Companies have approached Hanson Robotics with an interest in using Sophia to greet their clients, but, Mr Goertzel acknowledges, humanoid robots such as Sophia and Pepper are still very costly to produce.

~Darren Huston

Why Priceline’s booker-in-chief Darren Huston is spending big?

Darren Huston was trying to watch a hockey game; half-listening to a headhunter talk about a company he had never heard of before. But as the headhunter went on, the then 45years old executive in charge of Microsoft’s global consumer and online businesses tuned out the arena noise and began listening to what he thought was an impossible story.

“I said, ‘There’s nothing that big in Europe on the Internet,”’ Darren Huston recalled, laughing.

The 2011 call was from Booking.com, the Amsterdam-based unit of Priceline Group that dominates the European online travel market. By last year, Darren Huston became President and CEO of Priceline Group itself, which has come from dot-com laughingstock to the fifth most-valuable U.S. Internet company—if one still really considers it a U.S. company, because 90 percent of its profits come from overseas, most of them from Booking.com.

Everyone knows Booking and Priceline now. Continue reading “Why Priceline’s booker-in-chief Darren Huston is spending big?”

Darren Huston Priceline CEO to buy OpenTable for $2.6B

Extending its reach into restaurant reservations, online travel giant Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston is buying OpenTable for $2.6 billion.

Priceline will pay $103 per share in cash, which is a 46% premium over OpenTable’s Thursday closing price of $70.43.

OpenTable’s stock soared 48% to $104.48 Friday. Shares of Priceline were down 3% to $1,189.

OpenTable charges restaurants monthly fees to seat diners who book their reservations online. It has an inventory of more than 31,000 restaurants, and seats more than 15 million diners a month.

“Travelers are diners,” Priceline CEO and President Darren Huston said in a conference call with analysts and reporters. It’s the same customers. There’s opportunity to cross-promote brands.

“We spent a long time looking at OpenTable. It’s been on our radar for a long time. We felt now was a good time,” Darren Huston said.

Darren Huston said Priceline’s first goal is to expand OpenTable internationally. Users can already book restaurants through OpenTable in London, Berlin, Hong Kong and other cities, but Darren Huston said he wanted to bring it to more cities. Since Priceline already has “offices in every major city in the world,” doing so should be seamless, Huston said. Continue reading “Darren Huston Priceline CEO to buy OpenTable for $2.6B”