As we have noted numerous times over the past few years, technology has been changing the face of business — for both small and large firms. So, are we ready for personalized robots taking our orders and payment at restaurants?
According to Maria LaMagna, reporting for MarketWatch:
“Soon, when restaurant-goers hear ‘May I take your order?’, those words may be coming from a robot. Some restaurants have started experimenting with human-like robots instead of human cashiers, allowing consumers to pay for their meals without interacting with another person. Although many restaurants have allowed digital ordering, either online, by kiosk, or on tablets at the table, the practice of using humanoid, or human-like robots, is still in its earliest stages, and it’s primarily happening in Asia so far. Experts say the robots could benefit restaurants and lead to wider adoption — if diners aren’t too freaked out by them.”
“Pizza Hut is the latest company to try a robot cashier, in a partnership with robotics company SoftBank Robotics and MasterCard, which has created the payment app. The application works only with MasterCard’s MasterPass, a digital wallet that allows payment by MasterCard cards, as well as credit, debit, or prepaid cards.”
“SoftBank’s robot is named Pepper. It has a face and can even respond to human customers with some emotional intelligence. For example, if a customer seems more tentative to interact with a robot, Pepper will be more reserved, whereas if a customer is more energetic, Pepper will be, too. It looks like an alien, with eyes and a touchscreen on its chest, and it’s the size of a small child.”
Here is a photo of Pepper from MasterCard. Below the photo, there is a fun YouTube video.
3 Replies to “Meet Pepper: The Humanoid Robot”
While it is interesting to see technology expanding exponentially to the point of humanoid robots replacing the need for manual labor, it is also terrifying. No matter how closely a robot can mimic human emotion, it will never be exactly the same. Humans draw on previous experiences and interactions in order to elicit a sympathetic or empathetic response to others, and since robots do not have the capacity to do this, it will never have the same affect. Because of this, I do not agree with technology replacing humans in jobs that rely entirely on a person’s people skills.
This is absolutely fascinating. What we are seeing here is the beginning of the end result of advancing technology and the concerns it raises in people working in low skill level jobs. Today, we have self checkout options at CVS and robot waitresses like Pepper. Eventually, technology will have the capacity to replace all of human labor. Despite the concerns of many, technology makes our lives far more comfortable. We need it. I just hope the day doesn’t come when machines no longer need us.
The advanced technology used to create Pepper is intriguing; however the idea that human interaction is becoming less and less apparent throughout the world is somewhat concerning. The convenience of accessing anything from our cellphones has changed the way we communicate with others, both technologically and face-to-face. The fact that we have everything right at our fingertips captures most people’s attention rather than, talking to the person next to us or observing our surroundings. A human interaction as simple as ordering food at a restaurant is a large part of our everyday lives, just like using our cellphones. I think replacing a waiter or waitress with a humanoid robot could further hinder our interpersonal skills and steer us away from feeling real emotion.