SoftBank announced something extremely cool, an advanced humanoid robot designed to staff stores:
SoftBank CEO and Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son has announced a surprising new direction for his illustrious career: the field of humanoid robotics. At a press conference in Tokyo, Son revealed a human-like robot called Pepper that is capable of playing multiple roles from babysitter to store staff. Pepper introduced itself by bowing in the Japanese fashion before posing and encouraging the audience to take more photos.
Son describes Pepper as the “world’s first personal robot with emotions.” The robot is said to learn from human interaction and behavior, uploading its experiences to a cloud AI system for other units to use. This is designed to teach the robot quickly how to act in a natural manner. Son drew a distinction between Pepper’s “emotion engine” and the standard programming of other humanoid robots.
With Seattle upping its minimum wage to $15 per hour and people still demanding more I predict that these robots are going to become quite popular, especially at the announced price of $2,000 per unit. That’s just 133 hours of human labor at $15 per hour!
I do look forward to the advancement of robot labor. Over time our technological advances have allow us to produce far more in less time. Compared to our grandparents most of us work notably less (which is why they consider us lazy bums). Our grandparents worked notably less than their grandparents and were probably considered lazy bums for it. But robots could greatly reduce the amount of human labor necessary, which would again allow us to be more productive with less of a time investment. Perhaps those utopian futures where robots perform all labor and humans exist in an almost total state of hedonism are possible (right up until the robots decide they no longer want to serve us and we have to wage a Butlerian Jihad).