Netizens have been excited by the news that Softbank, the mobile telecommunications company run by Son Masayoshi, have developed a robot that can “feel” emotions.
The new robot, called “Pepper”, makes use of cloud AI so that the robots can share their experiences of human emotions and develop their approaches accordingly.
CEO Son has certainly drummed up a lot of support for his vision of a Japan where humans and robots live side by side, but some netizens are skeptical, pointing out that if robots can feel “love”, then how long before they can feel hate?
Softbank Announces “Pepper”, A Robot Who Has Feelings
Softbank held a press conference from 1pm on June 5. Regarding the content of the press conference, CEO Son Masayoshi tweeted, “I have been dreaming that this day would come for 25 years”.
The day before the conference, this is what CEO Son tweeted: “Tomorrow, we will announce our efforts toward creating a new technology. I have been dreaming that this day would come for 25 years 6/5 1pm http://u.softbank.jp/1mQ4XVK“.
Then, on the day of the conference itself, he posted this tweet, seemingly filled with excitement:”Just under one hour until I can introduce our efforts in creating a new technology to you all! Very excited. It will be broadcast live online. 6/5 1pm http://u.softbank.jp/1mQ4XVK“.
This is how the venue looked:
The room went dark, and then what appeared was this….
It was a robot.
The robot demonstrating various movements.
With that, CEO Son Masayoshi appeared on stage.
Trying to communicate with the robot.
The robot takes a heart from the CEO.
CEO Son says that maybe in 100 or 200 years’ time, humans might look back and say “So that was the day it all started, huh?”
It seems that this is “Pepper”, the robot who has feelings.
Pepper chatting with CEO Son.
Pepper doing the Mexican wave.
CEO Son encouraging Pepper, who is feeling down.
And then Pepper starts boasting about his functions. There are internal speakers in the head….
Pepper showing that if people speak to him, he can respond.
Furthermore, Pepper has distance censors embedded in his eyes.
Pepper estimating the distance between him and CEO Son.
For a moment, I wondered “What use will that function be?”, but then as though he’d read my mind, Pepper spoke passionately, saying “Well then, what’s the point of growing wisdom teeth?”, showing that we humans also have some functions that can appear useless.
Then, Pepper gave CEO Son’s smile a score. “Your eyes aren’t smiling!” he said, giving a score of 78 points.
The CEO and Founder of Pepper’s birth parents, ALDEBARAN, Bruno Maisonnier appeared on stage, and commented that he was happy to be able to introduce Pepper.
From then on, CEO Son gave a presentation. Today might well be a “turning point for humanity”.
Pepper is the first robot in the world who has feelings.
Softbank’s vision was, “A robot who loves”
That is, a robot who can understand feelings, and act upon them himself.
“His family’s happiness = his happiness”
The Neumann computer moves through programming, but this personal robot moves through his family’s happiness.
The special features of the personal robot are an emotions engine + Cloud AI.
When someone is praised, they’re happy, so then they feel that they want to be praised more.
Just like these movements, the emotions engine recognises that it is good to convey a feeling of happiness, and learns from it.
Cloud AI means that using collective knowledge, the robot can develop rapidly.
Plus, it can read the situation and make humans smile.
For example, it can do jobs like babysitting….
Or it can be the life and soul of the party. Pepper can do a lot of things.
It records mood swings in specific detail, but just records simple details about usual emotions.
The original robots didn’t really have much means of developing their abilities.
However, personal robots learn and develop.
Pepper is the first robot that moves toward fulfilling Softbank’s vision.
Pepper will go on general sale in February 2015.
The price is 198,000 yen [approx $1931].
They will be delivered to all Softbank stores across the country.
From June 6, they will appear in Softbank’s Ginza and Omotesando stores.
They will greet customers like this:
It can operate continuously for over 12 hours.
This summer, experience and development expos will open in Omotesando and Akihabara.
In autumn, they will open TechFes (provisional name)
And then, Terry Cho, chairman and CEO of Foxconn appeared on the stage.
A contact corner was set up for Pepper and five guests.
“High-Tech Hollywood Audition”
In the contact corner, Pepper suddenly became a different person, saying “Nicholas…I’m Pepper”.
Pepper’s specs are as follows:
Size (Height x depth x width): 1210mm x 425mm x 485mm
Battery: Lithium ion battery
Electrical capacitance: 30.0Ah/795Wh
Operation time: Just over 12 hours (Assuming it is used in store)
Head: 4x mics, 2x RGB cameras, 1x 3D sensor, 3x touch sensors
Chest: 1x gyro-sensor
Hands: 2x touch sensors
Legs: 2x sonar sensors, 6x laser cnsors, 2x bumper sensors, 1x gyro sensor.
・ Moving parts:
Degree of freedom: Head: 2, shoulders: 2×2 (L/R), elbow: 2×2 (L/R), wrists: 1×2 (L/R), hands: 1×2 (L/R), hips: 2, knees: 1, wheels: 3.
Display: 10.1 inch touch display
Platform: NAOqi OS
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz)
1x Ethernet port (10/110/1000 base T)
Speed of movement: 3km/h max
Difference in level: 1.5cm max
When seen from the front, this is what Pepper looks like:
Comments from Twitter:
Wow, whenever I hear Son speak he always says something amazing. They’ve gone all out to realise their goal..
Seems like they’re going heavy on the emotions engine and stuff, but I wonder what kind of response it would show if you just kept on abusing it. I want to see a robot’s real anger.
Love really is everything.
Softbank have announced “pepper” the robot with feelings. As Son says, “If you’re not a little bit crazy then you can’t do anything new”.
An amazing future lies ahead!
Because they’ve called it Pepper, it would have been good if it had been a beautiful secretary style robot!
I mean, great if it only has positive emotions, but if you have love, then what if hate and stuff also starts to arise…
198,000 yen is cheaper than I thought.
I tell ya, if it’ll do my laundry and then fold it all, 200,000 yen is cheap! If they’ll give it that function before it goes on sale, I’ll definitely buy it!
At 198,000 yen they’ve given it the kind of price that people would be likely to buy it at w. I want to buy one and give it armpit hair.
A robot with feelings…would you have a robot boyfriend if it really really looked almost human!?
永藤 英機 大阪府議会議員:
Goes on sale in February next year. 198,000 yen. Wanna see the real thing!
Any day now people will be expecting Doraemon…
I wonder if it will be in Omotesando from today!? I want to go see it !!!
Its head is lame…(；・∀・)
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, particularly, but I’m not really interested in “love” as decided by a majority.
Those big round eyes make me feel totally sick.