The inevitable robot takeover is here, and it's starting at the mall

The inevitable robot takeover is here, and it's starting at the mall

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Meet Pepper the robot.Meet Pepper the robot.
Image: SoftBank Robotics America
2016%2f10%2f18%2f6f%2f2016101865slbw.6b8ca.6b5d9By Sasha Lekach2016-11-24 00:08:27 UTC

The robots are here. And their goal is to help you find the food court.

Friendly faced humanlike looking machines are greeting shoppers at two malls in the San Francisco Bay Area this week in what could be the beginning of a new way we shop and eventually do everything.

The robots, all named Pepper from SoftBank Robotics in Japan, are already working alongside humans at hotels, shopping centers, and other retail spots in parts of Asia and Europe. The emotional machines were introduced originally in Japan back in 2014. Slowly they are making their way to America.

A pilot program with the robots kicked off this week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday at the Westfield Shopping Centre in San Francisco and Westfield Valley Fair mall in Silicon Valley, according to company spokespeople. This is the company's start of a robotics partnership with North American businesses.

Image: SOFTBANK ROBOTICS AMERICA

For now the robots are simply greeting mall-goers and offering some "high-tech holiday cheer" in the form of a robot selfie. They're also learning how to say "hello" in six languages and offering customers a chance to play an interactive game, a company press release stated.

SoftBank officials said come December, Pepper will be guiding shoppers to stores and restaurants with a map and directions.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the two malls are leasing two to three robots each during the pilot.

The advantages of a machine-run robot working with customers? It can be programmed to never get annoyed or exasperated with the neediest of shoppers. And they can handle a heavy workload — take that Black Friday crowds.

I was testing this guy some time back in my local mall and i loved him! Finally, a customer service robot that can get along with people!! 😃 https://t.co/MnbnvJ7kJi

— Aleksi Taunimaa (@SnaksiXD) November 22, 2016

The robotics company describes 4-foot-tall Pepper as a "humanoid robot with large expressive eyes and lifelike movements and gestures." Apparently Pepper is a tool retailers should expect to use with customers into the very near future. So look deeply into Pepper's big glowing eyes and start shopping.

Topics: humanoid robot, pepper, retail, Robot, U.S., World

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