The robot developed by Japan's Softbank, ''Pepper,'' spent its first day on the job at a Taiwanese bank entertaining and interacting with customers. Fred Katayama reports.
Pepper became an expat. The celebrity robot developed by Japan's Softbank spent its first day on the job at Taiwan's First Commercial Bank. After the bank's CEO handed it an employee ID, Pepper went to work, doing morning exercises with bank employees. Pepper puts a humanoid face on billionaire Masayoshi Son's vision. The founder of the company that owns telecom carrier Sprint is betting on a future centered on the "Internet of Things," in which a network of devices, cars, and building sensors collect and exchange data. About 500 companies in Japan employ Pepper as a customer service rep or waiter. Nestle uses it as a salesman to pitch coffee makers. Its main job at this bank: interacting with and entertaining customers. The robot that can sense emotions peppered the bank with smiles as it tried to entertain this boy. One customer, Chang Cheng-Kang, liked what he saw. SOUNDBITE: CHANG CHENG-KANG, CUSTOMER, (CHINESE WITH ENGLISH VOICEOVER) SAYING: "I think this is pretty good for customers just for them to kill time or to have more fun interacting with Pepper. Because for most robots, their main functions are basically mechanical, and they are needed where more time and strength are required for a job. But Pepper is a very good thing, and he's more interesting than those other robots." Pepper won't be performing any bank transactions, so these tellers' jobs are secure ... for now at least.