May 30, 2019
Pepper appears to be the standard go-to robot model.
The Ford Model T of robots, as it were.
Don’t be afraid, but a robot is being deployed to serve you at one of the world’s largest banks.
Its name is Pepper. It’s a humanoid robot with a tablet for a chest and wheels that let it get around on its own. It’s shiny and cute. It has arms and it has hands that it can tighten into a fist.
But it doesn’t want to hurt you or take anyone’s job, say officials of HSBC Bank, where Pepper is being put to work.
I’ve heard that one before.
They said the same thing about those self-service kiosks at McDonald’s.
And now try to find a McDonald’s without a poo-encrusted touch screen kiosk in a major city!
Beginning Thursday, Pepper will greet customers at HSBC Bank’s Brickell branch in Miami, and later, possibly other locations throughout Florida, according to bank officials. Pepper’s Miami launch will be the fourth for the bank, following launches at branches on Fifth Avenue in New York City last summer, and in Seattle and Beverly Hills this past spring.
SoftBank has deployed more than 15,000 Peppers across the globe since 2014, mostly to Asia — where they can be found in retail stores, restaurants, schools and banks — and Europe, where, among other functions, they greet visitors at museums, libraries and auto dealerships, Dawson said.
So far in the U.S., more than 250 of the robots have been introduced, including to companies that aren’t ready to be identified, Dawson said. While some hotels have deployed them, SoftBank is narrowing its marketing focus to retail and retail banking uses, Dawson said. The company makes a separate robot, NAO, for use in schools.
Dawson stressed that the company’s robots are built to provide information, not perform physical labor like stocking shelves or folding clothes. And sorry, Pepper can’t bring you a cold drink. And that’s good for human workers.
“We want automation that assists the workforce, not replaces it,” Dawson said.
I don’t think anyone is going to cry about bankers losing their jobs, but clearly, people need to start asking questions about this whole robot situation.
On the lower end of the skills spectrum, you’ve got the low-wage brown immigrants that are pouring into the United States because Donald Trump thinks it’s 1918 and that we need huge masses of unskilled laborers to work in the factories producing steel and tins of canned meat.
And now, on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got these robots…
You can see where I’m going with this, but most normies can’t. Bringing up automation short-circuits their brains the same way that talk of whether those six million Jews were really shoved into ovens in Poland does. This huge revolutionary thing – automation – is right around the corner, and literally no one but Tucker Carlson is even willing to bring it up in the public discourse.
You’ve got simultaneous de-industrialization, automation and Third World migration to contend with in the coming years.
…so what is the future going to look like?
You don’t even have any good near-future fiction out there trying to predict the period in-between now and the collapse. Basically, what cyberpunk was trying to do in the 80s has fallen out of vogue. If people write about the future, they usually skip ahead to post-collapse times or all the way to space opera fantasy.
All you have is Black Mirror and Tucker Carlson, and the former is more of a Twilight Zone horror thing than the sort of sober sci-fi take that I would like.
We’re just barreling into the 2020s totally blind here.