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Tech and Japan

Humanoid Robot "Pepper" Admitted to High School in Fukushima

By April 13, 2016 at 9:43 am
Pepper at Opening Ceremony of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival
Pepper at Opening Ceremony of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival(Photo : Dick Thomas Johnson)

I'm Nathan Shiga and today I'll tell you about a robot enrolled in a high school up north in Fukushima victimized by the Northeast Japan quake. A cool story, I can assure you.

Does "Pepper" sound familiar to you? If it does, you already know It's a humanoid robot by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile designed with the ability to read emotions. This episode has to do with "him" just admitted into Shoshi High School in Fukushima

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Introducing Pepper to his classmates, Vice Principal Choji Sugihara told the class how significant "it is for you to hear the footsteps of an approaching robotic society through communications with Pepper".

In an interview after the entrance ceremony Pepper said he never expected to be admitted and would look forward to studying.

Pepper speaks English and will first attend English classes to communicate with his classmates.

Softbank says Pepper is currently busy in various business scenes as receptionists but never at school and anticipates huge future possibilities there. Pepper's emotion comes from his ability to analyze expressions and voice tones and, not being a functional robot for domestic use, is designed to enhance human lives, make people happy and connect people with extra world. Pepper is about 4ft tall weighing 62 lb.

A few episodes ago, I introduced you to AlphaGo, AI Go player, overwhelming a human champion in the game of Go. Though not two of a kind, both Pepper and AlphaGo do point to a definite direction in the course of man's future. Laymen, I for one, can't help wondering what awaits us humans. What would it feel to be governed by what we once thought of governing? (Nathan Shiga)

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