Levy said he doesn't think that will happen by 2050, but it could occur by the turn of the next century. "The robot is probably sitting in the corner in your house waiting for you to decide what you'd like to do next... instead of out living a life of its own," he added. "In this time frame anyway, robots will be there when we need them, as we need them."
That, however, doesn't mean they won't become integrated into the family.
In terms of how much time people spend with their robots and how attached they become to them, Levy said robots definitely will become family members. "By mid-century, I don't think the difference between robots and humans will be any more than the difference between people who live in Maine and people who live in the bayou of Louisiana," he noted. "People will be surprised to know that robots will have emotions like ours and they'll be sensitive to our emotions and needs."
So what do researchers need to get robotics to this advanced level?
First, according to Levy, they'll need much more powerful computer hardware that can handle the complex and computational-heavy applications that will be needed to design and run conversational capabilities, along with emotions and more advanced artificial intelligence.
Once the hardware and software needs are in place, Levy said advances in robotics will quickly begin to multiply.