More and more companies are looking to use technology that replicates the workings of the human brain in order to improve their customer experience. Whilst this has been prevalent for some years now, through the personal assistants on smartphones such as Apple’s Siri and Google Now, a number of brands are creating technology that is edging increasingly closer to resembling human carbon copies.
The recently opened Henn-na Hotel in Japan is staffed by 10 humanoids developed by a company called Kokoro, the robots can check in new guests, carry their luggage and even clean their rooms, all the while being polite and hospitable. The robots themselves look like real humans; they can speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English and alter their tone and body language based on human requests.
This Japanese bank has become the first in the world to use robots in its branches with the introduction of NAO, a humanoid that had been designed to improve service for customers. The robot was developed by the Paris based company Aldebaran Robotics SA and it can even understand emotion by reading customers’ facial expressions and the tone of their voice.
Self-driving taxis are definitely on the horizon as more and more major players announce plans to develop their own auto pilot models. Just last week google confirmed they are developing a self-driving car they hope will be able to compete with Uber. Uber themselves have also started work on a self-driving project, recently hiring 50 staff from Carnegie Mellon University to work on it.
Why this is interesting…
The argument for humanoids and chatbots within businesses is strong. They are cost effective and can provide a higher, more efficient level of customer service. However, there are some who are of the opinion that the human mind is far too complex and emotional to try and replicate. Last week saw the first person to be killed behind the wheel of a Tesla autopilot car, suggesting the debate is going to only heighten moving into the future.