- Pepper the robot costs around £1,300 to buy, another £250-a-month to rent
- Creators SoftBank say using it for ‘sexual purposes’ breaks this agreement
- Computer pranksters reprogrammed an iPad to give Pepper virtual breasts
- Four-foot-tall robot reads human emotions and even offers its user advice
- Throws spotlight on the growing concern over rights for robots
The creators of Pepper the ’emotional robot’ have forbidden users from using it for sexual purposes, creating ‘sexy apps’ for it or reprogramming it to stalk people.
One thousand people paid £1,300 to buy the ‘companion bot’ within one minute of it going on sale in Japan this June, and then £250-a-month in rent.
Japan-based SoftBank included a clause in the ownership contract which said using the robot for ‘the purpose of sexual or indecent behavior’ breaks this agreement.
Disturbingly, computer pranksters have already reprogrammed the touchscreen hanging from its neck to give Pepper ‘virtual breasts’ which makes it shake its hips and moan when touched.
It has reignited the debate around so-called ‘sexbots’, with one roboticist telling MailOnline that machines which humans can realistically fall in love with are only ‘years away’.
The revolutionary Pepper is designed to live alongside humans. It reads emotions, gives its owners advice and makes small talk.
The super-advanced machine is so human-like that it can mimic human behaviour such as empathy, and even love.
Its creators SoftBank have urged customers ‘not to develop any sexy, obscene, or violent apps or actions for Pepper’.
The clause reads that Pepper must not be used ‘for sexual activity and actions for the purpose of indecent acts, or acts for the purpose of meeting and dating and making acquaintance of the opposite sex.’
In a further prohibitive clause Softbank simply inserts ‘no stalking’ into the contract.
Unfortunately the innocent Pepper has fallen into the hands of Japanese computer programmers who rewrote its software and created virtual breasts for the asexual robot.
The female developer who created Peppai – a play on the bot’s name and the Japanese word ‘oopai’ for breasts – said it was ‘for the purposes of testing sexual harassment’.
Some experts now say sex robots far more sensitive, attractive and ’emphatic’ than Pepper – which humans could seemingly fall in love with – are just a few years away.
Soon there will realistic humanoid robots with AI [artificial intelligence]’, said professor Adrian David Cheok, a roboticist at London City University, ‘Some of us will fall in love and have sex with robots.
PEPPER THE ATTENTIVE ROBOT
Within a minute of going on sale last month, the first 1,000 Pepper robots sold out in Japan.
The robot that can read human emotions, comes with a set of comprehensive instructions and guidelines, preparing owners for life with him.
According to reviews, the four-foot-tall machine-on-wheels is charming, considerate, offers advice and will ‘prattle on and on’.
A Japanese journalist who spent half a day with the robot said that the most striking feature is the ‘absolutely ardent attention [Pepper] gives you.’
It told him he looked thin and even asked him about his day.