As we approach the singularity, I think it’s important to understand who will soon be changing our diapers, bringing us whiskey, and eventually enslaving us under a totalitarian robot rule. Meet Pepper. As you’ll recall, Pepper is a robot made by Aldebaran and will be sold by Softbank in Japan for about $2,000. Pepper can “read” emotions and moves his/her arms and head in a lifelike way.
As you can see from this video, Pepper is totally kawaii and makes all sorts of peeping, purring noises in order to interact with unsuspecting humans. In this video, Pepper takes a glowing ball from a Japanese volunteer and cradles it like a delicate peach, cooing all the while. It’s not quite C3PO helping Luke Skywalker take down Jabba, but it’s still pretty amazing. The robot uses cloud computing to get smarter about its surroundings and to offload a lot of the interaction mechanics to bigger servers.
Pepper will be in Softbank stores in February and should be for sale later next year. Why do you need one? Given that it’s not quite strong enough to lift you out of bed nor smart enough (yet) to do your shopping, I suspect this will be an Aibo-like toy for the time being. Soon, however, Pepper will dance its way into our homes, hearts, and, perhaps, down our throats and into our chest cavities. The future, as they say, is so bright we gotta run from the robots.