Humanoid robot continues to get fired from its job


TOKYO – Having a robot read the scriptures for mourners seemed like a profitable idea for employees of Nissei Eco Co., a plastic manufacturer with a side business in the funeral business.

The company hired a robot the size of a child Pepper, donned Buddhist clergy clothing, and programmed it to chant several sutras, or Buddhist scriptures, depending on the sect of the deceased.

Sadly, the robot, made by SoftBank Group Corp., kept breaking down during testing. “What if he refused to operate in the middle of a ceremony?” Said Osamu Funaki, director of the funeral company. “It would be such a disaster.

Pepper was fired. The company terminated the rental of the robot and returned it to the manufacturer. After a series of similar incidents across Japan, in which Pepper botched his job at a nursing home and left baseball fans feeling creepy, some people say the humanoid himself will soon be in need of help. ‘a burial.

“Because he’s shaped like a person, people expect the intelligence of a human,” said Takayuki Furuta, director of the Future Robotics Technology Center at the Chiba Institute of Technology, who did was not involved in the development of Pepper. “The level of technology is completely below that. It’s like the difference between a small car and a real car.

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