Hitachi Ltd demonstrates how the company's humanoid customer service and guidance robot EMIEW3 can assist a foreign tourist in Tokyo. The robot was developed to provide necessary services and guidance in stores and public facilities, according to Hitachi.© Japan Today
Can I help you?
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The last thing I want to talk to is a robot. Had the best time talking to real people for directions in Japan. Many were retirees.
Does it learn? Because, if so, it won't be long before those foreign customers will be testing its limits and teaching it to swear. It might take some time before they submit to speaking to it in the way it requires.
...but I was always told (when speaking English) that one should say "May I help you ?"... (otherwise the reply could be : "I don't know if you can but you may certainly try" !)
FightingViking: Sadly, this use of English has become acceptable, and most certainly cannot be changed in the mainstream. I sometimes used to ask teachers, "Can I go to the bathroom?" and they would indeed reply, "I don't know, can you?" then they'd wait for me to sigh and ask, "May I...?" and let me go. I was a kid and it was already widespread. It's good to know that the language is mutable and that it's changed, and you can choose which to use, but there's no point fighting this use of 'can'.
Anyway, I doubt the ability of these robots is anything useful at the moment, unless the are asked SPECIFIC questions that have been programmed into them. I'm willing to bet what it says nine times out of ten will be "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you said. Please say it again."
A part-time Girl working for $7~8/hr would be more economical and delightful... some foreign tourists may become Regular Visitors !!
Development and construction cost and maintenance fees? Interesting to compare the real costs it to a human, as @some14some suggested.
If its anything like the last few attempts JP had made at translators it will be terrible. Even watching the news on Tv it was pitiful to think anyone would actualy speak the way she did, slowly and clearly with little or no accent.
I tried to talk to Pepper at a hotel lobby in Tokyo while waiting for friends. I wasn't impressed.
I wonder if the Microsoft Chat-bot attempt would be replicated with these "Robots" and we'll end up finding ourselves talking to a series of foul-mouthed automaton's... I can already think of some captions for the above picture, given the postures... ;-)
Why the need for an actual robot anyway? Surely the software behind the scenes in touch-panel/console form is enough? Moreover, I've said this in regard to several of Japan's big robot "advancements"... why are they re-inventing the wheel? Why not team up with one of the big companies and expand in areas that are relevant to Japanese?
We already have Siri and other similar tech made which will always be superior to this specific robot setup simply because more manpower/support/infrastructure in developing it.
If robotics are the focus, then why waste money developing the AI? Japan could go far if it simply went 100% into the mechanics of robotics and figured out a good way to make highly efficient/low energy usage parts.
Its all well and good that the robot can speak talk in English, but can it tolerate the regional dialects? IE Glasgow , Liverpool and welsh accents? I am English and speak with a midlands accent and even I can't understand the Glasgow accent, so how the heck is a robot!! mind you so long as it can head butt some one it will be able to converse with a Glaswegian. I would rather talk to another human being rather than another robot, Iam fed up with automated answering machines every time you phone some company press 1 press 5 press 2 press 8 how about press 5 for a human being? sat nav (robot) soon we won't be talking to any one as we will be only talking to dam robots! i would rather talk to a pretty young lady who could give me directions.
An "English Courtesy Phone Line" would be appreciated more.
I could call the line, speak a few sentences and the phone to an employee and get help. The translation service could be centralized for the entire country - as a service. The only issue would be trying to find a gift when I cannot explain what I'm looking for - common for all men, I think.
Not really interested in dealing with a robot ... well ... except in a pron shop, perhaps.