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Robot that can “read emotions” keeps getting fired from jobs

Close up of female robot eye.

Japanese-based Softbank Group announced last week it was pressing pause on “Pepper”, an artificial intelligent robot it started producing in 2014, after multiple “firings.” Pepper, which was supposed to be able to “read emotions” and converse with people, has been axed by multiple companies around the world for various issues. Nissei Eco Co., a plastics manufacturer with a sideline in the funeral business, hired Pepper to chant sutras or scriptures to mourners at funerals, but soon fired it after Pepper kept breaking down during practice runs. “What if it refused to operate in the middle of a ceremony?” funeral-business manager Osamu Funaki told the Wall Street Journal. “It would be such a disaster.” Scottish grocery chain Margiotta installed a Pepper in their flagship Edinburgh store, but was fired after continually telling customers to look “in the alcohol section” when they asked where things were.

 

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