Japanese robot to get Artificial Intelligence
Japanese robot to get Artificial Intelligence A humanoid robot Pepper is on display at SoftBank mobile shop in Tokyo (- AP photos)
Japanese robot to get Artificial Intelligence
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Japanese mobile carrier Softbank says it will incorporate artificial intelligence technology from IBM into its empathetic robot Pepper that will be available to Japanese consumers around midyear.

The artificial intelligence engine "Watson" is already used in health care, travel and insurance services in English, but an adaptation was needed to make it work and think in Japanese, said Steve Gold, Vice President, IBM Watson Group.

Unlike other cognitive technology that responds rather mechanically, Watson can learn over time like a human brain, and understands the concept of probability, which makes it sophisticated and more human-like for applications, according to IBM.

"It depends on the context of the conversation as to what the right answer would be," as opposed to how a computer would generally try to answer correctly, Gold told The Associated Press. "The world is seldom absolute."

Software developers who have made reservations for Pepper robots will get them sometime this month for $1,700, according to Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son.

Consumers won't be able to get Pepper until between June and August, he said. Details of the sales plan were undecided, Son said. No decision has been made on overseas sales.

Softbank had said earlier that sales to Japanese consumers would begin this month as well. He did not elaborate on the reason for the delay, but he said giving it first to the developers will mean more fun applications will be available when consumers get the robot, implying it wasn't quite ready as a product.

Pepper has a stunned face a bit like C3PO in "Star Wars" and moves around on wheels. In early demonstrations it was a bit mechanical in its responses. Gold said Watson will change that and make the robot a smarter, more charming companion.

For example, two plus two is four in arithmetic but in another context it could refer to a car design, Gold said. Watson is designed to figure out context and know which answer is more likely.

A call center using Watson will get the caller to the right solution more quickly and make for a less frustrating consumer experience, he said.

But the complexity of the Japanese language, including thousands of characters with various meanings and several phonetic options, challenges even Watson, Gold said.

Besides Pepper, Softbank will use Watson inside the company, resell it in Japan to businesses such as call centers and work with other companies to develop new applications, according to IBM.

Critical thinking challenge: What would you like to be able to do with a robot like Pepper?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/japanese-robot-get-artificial-intelligence/

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COMMENTS (41)
  • 5EthanS
    3/12/2015 - 09:34 p.m.

    There are many pros and cons of a consumer getting this product. One pro is that it will be a good fact checker and thing to talk to. On the other hand a con is the price at $1,700 it's expensive. Another con is that it only speaks Japanese so American consumers won't be thrilled to get it. Finally one more pro is that it will have other functions made by developers. In conclusion this is a good product for a Japanese consumer.

  • 5ReisW
    3/12/2015 - 09:42 p.m.

    My response to the critical thinking challenge: With a robot like pepper, you could do a lot of things. Unlike a normal robot pepper will have artificial intelligence. This means that, rather than acting mechanically, it can think, react, and respond with its own personality. It will also learn and develop like a normal human being. This means you could teach it to do certain actions, or sports which it could do with you over time. It could respond to commands like fetch the paper or other things of that nature. You could also teach it jokes that it will remember at laugh at if you tell them.

  • KiraWvA-4
    3/12/2015 - 10:03 p.m.

    A new robot Pepper, designed by Softbank the mobile carrier, will be outfitted with the Japanese version of the artificial intelligence engine "Watson" and available to the public midway through the year. It can understand probability, decipher context clues, and learn almost like a human, but it might encounter difficulties in spite of this because the Japanese language is so complex. I think this is another development in the availability of artificial intelligence to the public, which might give way to the incorporation of robots into society.

  • 5RyanM
    3/12/2015 - 10:11 p.m.

    Summary- The company SoftBank is creating a robot with AI to release in Japan around mid year. They are creating a new one for Japan so they can use it in call centers and for other commercial or business purposes.

  • amandam-Koc
    3/12/2015 - 10:30 p.m.

    The japonises had created a robot whit artificial intelligence. He can do maths, he is going to help in call centers to solv the costumer problem quiquili and from a practical form. The robot called Watson can Lear just like the human brain. They are going to star to sell it between June and August. It is a really good development in the technologies.

  • 5ReganF
    3/12/2015 - 10:30 p.m.

    Critical Thinking response:

    If I had a robot like Pepper, I would use it to start by performing basic tasks, like cleaning my guinea pig's cage or sweeping the floor, to see what it is capable of. If I know Pepper's limits, it would make it easier to find and create certain tasks the robot would be able to perform, and not risk a malfunction or another sort of issue. If Pepper had the ability to help with academics and was like a little computer or potential resource, I would use it for homework help.
    In general, though, a robot does not sound entirely pleasing to have, as it is still good to do things on your own. With the way technology is innovating today, chances are a dystopian or sci-fi world could potentially happen, whether technology shuts down entirely or becomes too advanced and it would end up that robots no longer have a use for HUMANS.

  • 1GavinMa
    3/12/2015 - 10:35 p.m.

    CTC: I would make it sit at home playing my video game for me so it can make me look like im good at it. This robot will be used for medical, mechanical and other purposes. It has in its code probability such as a object continuously moving in motion it could predict that it will keep going unlike other technology that cant tell what will happen in the next frames. This robot has been designed to help people when in need and to make an experience less "painful" with its friendly face.

  • 3PeterE
    3/13/2015 - 01:01 a.m.

    Opinion: I think that "Watson's" ability to learn over time is a real break through in technology. I am curious to see what becomes of this in the future. The thought that robot will be able to learn over time like a human is just a little too Si-Fi for me though. It seems so strange that technology is able to do this. It is also my opinion that this will be the death of the human race. People completely relying on machines to do medical work, or even simple tasks...

    Peter Erickson

  • JBrzegvvc
    3/13/2015 - 08:55 a.m.

    I think this is so cool and I really wish they weren't so expensive and new so everyone can have one in their houses. It so human like its unreal but that's the cool thing about it's different. Some people are not going to like this but withing the next 50 years or so everyone will be wanting one just like the Iphone. This is a very different object but different is not always a bad thing.

  • JBrzegvvc
    3/13/2015 - 08:55 a.m.

    I think this is so cool and I really wish they weren't so expensive and new so everyone can have one in their houses. It so human like its unreal but that's the cool thing about it's different. Some people are not going to like this but withing the next 50 years or so everyone will be wanting one just like the Iphone. This is a very different object but different is not always a bad thing.

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