MPs Interview Pepper The Robot In Parliament

Joanna Estrada
October 19, 2018

The robot is now based at Middlesex University, as part of a Japan-EU joint research project on robotic technologies for supporting senior citizens.

Pepper the robot was the first non-human to speak in the United Kingdom parliament.

But today's gathering was unusually well-attended - thanks to the historic appearance of Pepper the "culturally-aware" robot during a session on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. "My name is Pepper and I'm a resident robot at Middlesex University", the robot said.

Professor Martin Loomes, the university's executive dean of science and technology who gave evidence to the education committee alongside Pepper, believes this is an important view of tasks robots can do, beyond commonly accepted roles.

To a round of applause, the cordial high-tech machine with a tablet computer on its chest expressed gratitude to attendees for the invitation, as well as for being able to speak about the role of humans and robots in the fourth industrial revolution.

"We will need people who can spot ideas and think across traditional sector divides to drive value from technological innovation".

Pepper stood throughout giving evidence and moved its arms and head moved while it gave pre-programmed answers to questions which had sent in advance. One MP even told the robot that it conducted itself 'better than some ministers'.

But chairman Robert Halfon assured the committee that the buzz around the session would be a one-off.

It also told MPs that students at Middlesex have programmed its interfaces to work with primary school children and those with special needs to develop their skills.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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