When is the last time a robot laughed at one of your jokes? For me the answer would be never, unless miscommunication with Siri counts as a bad joke…and Siri doesn’t laugh…
This month in Japan “Pepper” the robot can now be purchased by consumers. The four-foot-tall Pepper was developed by Aldebaran Robotics and features a built in 3D camera used to perceive his surroundings.
Pepper was created for Softbank Mobile and he is used in stores to interact with customers. He can now also be purchased by residents of Japan for just under ¥200,000 or $1,600.
What really makes Pepper special is that he was designed to also be an emotional companion to any human. By responding to laughter and facial expressions Pepper will react appropriately to your mood.
Aldebaran Robotics website states:
“Pepper can translate what state you are in using his knowledge of universal emotions (joy, surprise, anger, doubt and sadness) and his ability to analyze your facial expression, body language and the words you use. He will guess your mood, and will even adapt to it. For example, he will try to cheer you up by playing your favorite song!”
Regarding Pepper in your home the Aldebaran website states:
“Our goal at Aldebaran is to create robots for the well being of humans, kind robots living with humans as a new artificial species. In order to realize this dream, it’s not enough to simply have Pepper working at SoftBank stores. The ultimate goal is for Pepper to live with humans, the stores are just the beginning…”
It certainly appears as though Pepper is a giant step forward in robots interacting with humans emotionally. If Pepper is released internationally it will be interesting to see how this “living with robots” dynamic will shape the future of society.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think it would be like to live with an emotional robot in the comment section below.
(2015) Who is Pepper? Aldebaran Robotics. https://www.aldebaran.com/en/a-robots/who-is-pepper