"I'm a sophisticated combination of hardware and software designed to interact with humans and bring them joy," Pepper told CTV (that’s Canadian Television for those few of you who may not be aware that Toronto is in Canada) on March 2, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. Does the fact that Pepper is conversing with CTV mean that the robot will arrive in Canada before the United States? Will Pepper speak French before English? And will he be playing hockey before football? Oh, the humiliation!
Calm down, America. Just because Pepper happened to speak to a CTV talking head before one at NBC doesn’t mean it’s going Canadian first! No, the little robot was simply making a statement at the DX3 Conference in Toronto.
The DX3 is billed on the Internet as...:”Canada’s largest conference and trade show dedicated to digital marketing, digital advertising and digital retail. It brings agencies, brands, publishers and retailers together for two days of networking and education.”
What, you might ask, was this “hairless robot with big eyes and a soft voice” (as described by CTV), doing at this Canadian confab? (Which begs the question: do robots in Canada need hair to survive the cold?) The answer to the first question is simple: The DX3 is about retail and believe it or not, Pepper is more than just a hairless, pretty face with a knack of making people feel better-- Pepper is considered by many merchandising experts to be the ‘future of retail!’ (As for the second question, forget it!)
It seems that the very talents that allow it to relate and react to human emotions makes it a valuable member of the retail establishment. Pepper is already in use at numerous retail establishments in Japan, and in Europe it is at work assisting passengers on trains in France and onboard cruise ships. Pepper never gets angry, never cuts a customer short and has never heard a stupid question. This is one employee that never comes to work in with an attitude.
And as for learning Canadian French before American English, Pepper was created in France by the French Robotics company Aldebaran, a subsidiary of the Japanese company Softbank. French then, was the robot’s mother tongue and Japanese it’s second language. We Americans will just have to live with our beautiful language coming in third.
Nor will Pepper play hockey before football. While it is a sturdy little ‘hairless’ robot, it moves about on small wheels rather than feet. No chance of attaching skates! Come to think of it, Pepper couldn’t kick a football, either.