An emotional robot – doesn’t it sound like the biggest oxymoron ever? It certainly did not to the Japanese telecommunications and internet corporation, SoftBank, which recently introduced world’s “first robot with emotions.” Wait what?
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son announced the decision to launch the robot named Pepper which can not only understand human emotions but is also capable of evolving to grow more sophisticated. Sounding creepy yet?
The video above, released by the company itself, tells us nothing about the abilities of Pepper other than waving randomly and bowing to people, which any humanoid robot can do. The company’s statements also do not inform us about the number of commands it can understand and what they exactly mean when they say “robot with emotions.” Based on this, it is safe to assume that robots like Pepper seem to be no more than a ploy for corporations to sell toys to rich kids. We don’t even have a problem with it as long as they say it’s a toy.
However, during the press conference for the launch of Pepper, Son claimed, "One hundred years from today, or 200 years from today, the people will say that the history of computing changed from today." If he meant that the history of computing will change for the worse, we can maybe consider it seriously.
We understand that scientific research at its purest form cannot be associated with its implications. We also firmly believe that technological innovation, irrespective of its nature, is a vanguard of human progress.