File photo – SoftBank Corp’s human-like robot named ‘pepper’ displayed at its branch in Tokyo June 6, 2014.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Pepper is a friendly robot man who can communicate with people and even your best friend, if you want to.
SoftBank, the cute humanoid robot in collaboration with the French robotics company Aldabaran SAS, had high expectations for Pepper as the first rolled off the production line in 2015.
Since then, Pepper is turning up in all sorts of places, from train stations to hospitals, to department stores, usually at the shoppers entertained, instead of on a especially demanding tasks.
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We have now learned that Pepper’s last gig was at a Pizza Hut in Singapore, where the 120-cm tall robot will make menu recommendations and take orders from hungry customers.
The initiative is run in partnership with Mastercard, who hopes the robot will help it to highlight its secure Masterpass digital payments. To start a client on the first place must ensure they have the Pizza Hut app on their phone before you to sign up with Masterpass.
Preparing the Pepper for what Mastercard is calling the “conversational commerce,” the credit card company worked with robotics and artificial intelligence company Teksbotics to create a voice-based interface technologies for Pepper, which closes with Mastercard own secure payment services.
Mastercard describes the resulting process as “safe and simple voice-assisted-commerce experience with the potential to be adopted in a variety of environments — shops, restaurants, like Pizza Hut and beyond.”
But a video (see below) shot by the local media show a Mastercard executive put Pepper through her paces on Pizza Hut shows the ordering process to be a bit on the slow side. To be honest, Pepper is performing pretty well in the interaction, the offering of choices that are displayed on the torso-based tablet, and responds in a sociable way, but it takes almost three minutes for the ordering of a single pepperoni pizza.
At this stage there is no serious plan for the Pizza Hut to replace human employees with Pepper robots. The robot seems to not be ready for complex tasks, but it can certainly be a routine visit to the restaurant a little more enjoyable for the customers.
Let’s just hope that this particular Pepper is performing better than the other, who recently started work at a supermarket in Scotland. Although it could offer simple advice on the location of the various items in the shop, the overall performance remained below expectations, ask the manager to fire bad Pepper.