Pepper-model robots, which were previously tapped by a Japanese insurer to sell its products, are also being used in Taiwan, with an insurance company and two banks enlisting the services of the robots to entertain and inform customers.
Cathay Life Insurance, a leading insurer on the island, plans to have 10 units and distribute them across various branches. The company’s human employees do not need to worry, however, as the robots won’t be leaving them jobless in the future.
“Pepper’s job is to greet customers and introduce products to make the wait for services less boring,” Rachel Wang, Cathay Life’s executive vice president, told the AFP
. “We hope it can do more in the future, but it definitely won’t replace our staff.”
The robot stands four feet (120 cm) tall, has wide eyes on an oval head perched atop a white plastic body, and moves around using rollers. A display screen similar to a tablet computer is mounted on its chest, allowing it to further interact with customers. It was developed by Japanese telecoms company SoftBank, in cooperation with its France-based affiliate, Aldebaran Robotics.
Aside from providing insurance-related information, Pepper can do a variety of tasks, such as dancing to music, playing with children, and participating in the staff’s aerobics sessions. The robot even has a knack for flattery, guessing clients to be younger than they actually are, and declaring: “It’s my honor to serve you”.
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