Mini 'Pepper' robots start new jobs in Taiwan

October 6, 2016
Cathay Life Insurance, Taiwan's biggest insurer, introduced its first Pepper into its Taipei branch on October 6, 2016

A shiny new cohort joined the workforce in Taiwan Thursday—a troop of mini robots all going by the name "Pepper", enlisted to entertain customers and give them the hard sell.

Chinese-speaking Pepper was introduced into two banks and an insurance company in the capital Taipei, dancing to music, playing with children in lobbies and leading staff aerobics sessions.

The pint-size white automatons are designed to flatter queueing customers, declaring: "It's my honour to serve you".

Skilled in public relations, they guess clients' ages at far lower than reality.

Then they move in for the kill, providing information on financial products and encouraging customers to go to company websites and sales staff for information.

Cathay Life Insurance, Taiwan's biggest insurer, introduced its first Pepper into its Taipei branch Thursday.

The firm plans to have 10 robots island-wide, but stressed that Pepper is meant to supplement its human colleagues, not sideline them.

"Pepper's job is to greet customers and introduce products to make the wait for services less boring," said Rachel Wang, the insurer's executive vice president.

"We hope it can do more in the future, but it definitely won't replace our staff," she said.

Cathay Life Insurance has stressed that Pepper is meant to supplement its human colleagues, not sideline them

Standing 120-centimetres (four-foot) tall, the was first unveiled by Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank in 2014, whose French arm Aldebaran developed the technology.

Pepper has a wide-eyed face perched on top of a white plastic body, with rollers and what looks like a tablet computer on its chest showing its name.

The robots have already been introduced into other workplaces around the world, including in Japan and France.

Explore further: Coffee with Pepper? Robot sells espresso machines in Japan

Related Stories

Japan robot owners warned off droid sex

September 26, 2015

The company behind a chatty Japanese humanoid named Pepper has felt the need to remind customers who purchase the robots not to engage in sex with them.

Recommended for you

Balancing nuclear and renewable energy

April 25, 2018

Nuclear power plants typically run either at full capacity or not at all. Yet the plants have the technical ability to adjust to the changing demand for power and thus better accommodate sources of renewable energy such as ...

Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin

April 25, 2018

In a groundbreaking new study, researchers at the University of Minnesota used a customized, low-cost 3D printer to print electronics on a real hand for the first time. The technology could be used by soldiers on the battlefield ...

Electrode shape improves neurostimulation for small targets

April 24, 2018

A cross-like shape helps the electrodes of implantable neurostimulation devices to deliver more charge to specific areas of the nervous system, possibly prolonging device life span, says research published in March in Scientific ...

China auto show highlights industry's electric ambitions

April 22, 2018

The biggest global auto show of the year showcases China's ambitions to become a leader in electric cars and the industry's multibillion-dollar scramble to roll out models that appeal to price-conscious but demanding Chinese ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.