A recent BBC science report showed Pepper, a “culturally competent” robot, interacting with residents of a care home. One of them, Peter, was encouraged to reminisce about the war while Pepper, four feet tall and cute as a button, nodded encouragingly and blinked its big, Disney eyes. It seemed to be listening to Peter and perhaps it was also doing other useful things, like monitoring his blood pressure and heart rate, or checking for signs of macular degeneration. We’ve been anticipating and dreading the age of the robot for more than a hundred years. Now, in car plants and care homes, it’s finally dawning. How long before robots like Pepper acquire that quality we prize so highly in humans and fear in machines: emotional intelligence? Is it only a matter of time before Pepper can roll its neon eyes and say: “Oh please, not the doodlebugs again, Grandad”?
Register today to continue reading
You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.
You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.
Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.
Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.
Already a subscriber? Log in here