Already a major manufacturer of electronics, China is preparing to bolster its presence in robotics with the help of government support and investments. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will develop a “robotics technology roadmap” as part of new government plans, the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday. The country’s goal is to establish a robotics industry that can grab over 45 percent of the high-end market by 2020, the report said. It was not clear if the ministry was referring to the domestic or global market.
TOKYO: Food giant Nestle said on Wednesday (Oct 29) that its Japan unit would hire 1,000 robots as sales clerks at stores across the country. The first batch of the robots – a chatty humanoid called Pepper – will report to work by the end of this year at outlets that sell coffee capsules and home espresso machines. “From December, they will start selling coffee machines for us at big retail stores,” said Nestle Japan spokeswoman Miki Kano. “We are sure that our customers will enjoy shopping and being entertained by robots.”
SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son took the stage at SoftBank World 2014 this morning to share his revolutionary ideas for reversing Japan’s declining economy. If you’ve been following SoftBank recently, it should come as no shock that one of Son’s proposed remedies is the implementation of a robotic workforce. He also stressed the importance of utilizing existing technology – smartphones, tablets, and cloud computing – to gain an edge over the competition.
Expect more wearables, robots and even electric cars to come from manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group, as the Taiwanese company tries to reinvent itself as a broader technology service provider. While Foxconn now mainly manufactures products for vendors like Apple and Sony, the company is hoping to seize on new opportunities emerging in the market. “When a typhoon comes, even a pig can fly,” joked Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou at its annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday.
TOKYO: A chatty humanoid robot whose makers claim it can understand people’s emotions made its first friends Friday as it struck up conversations with shoppers in Tokyo. And the device — named Pepper by its designers — proved an effective marketing tool for mobile carrier SoftBank, delighting managers who put it to work collecting customer opinions.
URAYASU: Japan’s SoftBank on Thursday unveiled what it billed as an “emotional” humanoid robot that will entertain customers at the mobile carrier’s phone outlets — and maybe become a member of their family. Company president Masayashi Son joked around with the talking, dancing and singing humanoid named Pepper at an event just outside Tokyo.
Global software giant Microsoft Corp claimed its artificial intelligence chatting robot, Xiaobing, has been blocked by WeChat without prior notice, a move described by the American company as a “brutal murder”. The shutdown of Xiaobing accounts came just six days after Microsoft announced that it had reached an exclusive partnership agreement with WeChat for the Siri-like service that allowed WeChat users access to a social assistant.
Just two days after going live, the WeChat-integrated robot made by Microsoft Asia’s Internet Engineering Academy has been blocked by Tencent. The conversational AI project dubbed Xiaobing functioned as an official account that could be invited to chat with both individuals and groups.
TOKYO: Japanese scientists unveiled a robot with a sense of humour on Tuesday, and claimed it was capable of knowing when its jokes had fallen flat. The pint-sized roller-skating EMIEW2 — pronounced like the flightless bird — is able to have a short conversation with a human being, without being given a script. The red and white robot picks key words from a sentence — for example, “how many” — to try to work out what question it is being asked, then confirms the inquiry before firing back an answer.