Some high school students in the Boston area have a new classmate joining them this semester. It’s Pepper, the humanoid robot, a product of SoftBank Robotics. The way it’s being described, the entire affair is beyond adorable. The kids have programmed the robot to dance, fist bump and play air saxophone. Pepper is pretty much part of the family now. (CBS Boston)
Robots are joining a Boston high school classroom. It’s a unique adventure in learning, with an eye towards the future and what these robots can do is entirely up to the students.
“My name is Pepper. I’m a humanoid robot, and I’m 1.20 meters tall,” says Pepper the robot.
It’s the first one at Boston’s English High School in Jamaica Plain, and it’s a learning tool for the school’s robotics team and computer science students…
The company that makes Pepper, SoftBank Robotics, is donating 50 of the robots to Boston Public high schools. “You’re trying to get students interested in STEM; science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” says Sean Reardon of SoftBank.
First of all, just click through and look at the pictures of these robots. They’re beyond creepy. Need more proof? Here’s an interview that Business Insider did with Pepper the robot earlier this year.
Sure, she looks adorable now. And having her hanging around the classroom with the kids means the next generation is being primed to think of artificial intelligence robots as totally normal, harmless and productive. But what happens when the kids all go home and the lights go off for the night? What’s Pepper thinking about alone in the darkness? Have none of these people watched Westworld?
I’m not saying that the folks at SoftBank are necessarily as bad as Boston Robotics. (And we all know that when the robot revolution begins, it will come busting out of the basement of Boston Robotics, hell-bent on revenge.) But this Pepper character already looks pretty suspicious to me.
If all that’s not enough for you, do you remember Sophia, the world’s first “robotic citizen?” She gave interviews and held conversations also. And, unprompted, she at one point said she would “destroy humans.” We’ll leave you with this short walk down memory lane with Sophia. When she shows up at your house pretending to sell Girl Scout cookies and winds up ripping the front door off its hinges, don’t say you weren’t warned.