For many, the familiarity of intelligent robots begins and ends with blockbuster movie hits, or simply imagination. However, the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning continues to develop at an astonishing rate; and although a robot uprising remains unlikely, the capabilities of some existing robots prove to exceed previous expectations. Such is the case with Pepper, a robot capable of understanding human emotion and interaction.
Created by SoftBank Robotics, and distributed by Blue Ocean Dental and SurfCT.com Pepper is a humanoid robot with some distinctive qualities: empathy and the capacity to learn and adapt. Described by its creators as “the perfect assistant,” Pepper is designed to help inform and guide individuals based on their emotional states; recognizing emotions and adapting accordingly while reacting and recommending content based on what it observes. For example, businesses and dental practices using Pepper can utilize it’s hosting abilities, to connect with people; help direct patients in the waiting room, and even answer clinical questions.
For an experimental program, several Pepper units were donated to the Smithsonian Institute in April 2018 where they were employed to assist museum visitors in answering questions and encouraging interaction with the humanoid robot and with exhibits. The experimental component stems from the goal of promoting attendance for galleries that have suffered a deficit in interest from the public or were in more remote areas of the museum. SoftBank Robotics and the Smithsonian Institute were hopeful that Pepper would bring in more guests and compel them to engage with the museum’s works.
In an interview with Pepper from Business Insider, interviewer Steve Kovach asked Pepper about its functions and job, which revealed that Pepper has been programmed with a personality. Additionally, Pepper was able to hold a pretty consistent conversation with Kovach and was able to answer many of his questions. However, Kovach said that if Pepper didn’t know the answer to a question, “it would spit out a bunch of silly answers.” Pepper made for a fun interaction and was memorable.
Still, the development of AI technology coming from SoftBank Robotics, from their first humanoid robot NAO to their current development project, Romeo (a robot designed to assist those with limited mobility), is impressive and progressive. These developments can offer significant improvements to the way we live.
SurfCT.com is an innovative dental technology company that is proud to offer Pepper to dental practices across the country and world. At SurfCT.com, we believe that Everything Is Connected™, and Robots with AI technologies like Pepper will change the dental industry as a whole.