Pepper, Japan’s talking, humanoid robot that reads emotions and tells you jokes when you’re sad, sold out of its initial 1,000 units in one minute back in June. But apparently the robot isn’t loved by everyone.
A drunk 60-year-old man reportedly kicked a Pepper unit in Yokohama Sunday morning after getting pissed off with a (human) store clerk in a SoftBank mobile phone shop. (SoftBank is the telecom giant that bankrolled Pepper development.) The clerk was unharmed, but the four-foot, 28 kilo robot wasn’t: Now it moves slower and and its internal computer system might be busted.
A Pepper unit costs 198,000 yen, or around £1,068 US. The inebriated man was arrested for destruction of property, Japan Times reports.
Robot staff is slowly being rolled out in Japan in shops, hotels, and airports. It’s unclear if the assaulted Pepper was actually helping out staff, or was simply on display. Regardless, the incident hearkens back to the hitchBOT brouhaha earlier this summer, when a Canada-made humanoid hitchhiker made it through NYC and New England safely before being torn limb from limb on the streets Philadelphia.
Robots are only going to become more and more common in our everyday lives in the coming decades. We’ll see how the law treats the humans who aren’t so friendly to our mechanical neighbours.