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Science & Technology

Pepper the robot answers MPs' questions

Friday 19/October/2018 - 08:45 AM
Sada El Balad
edited by: Basant Ahmed
A robot has faced questions from a House of Commons select committee for the first time، Sky News reported.

Pepper، a male humanoid، was asked about the role artificial intelligence could play in the classrooms of the future.

The education committee is examining the "fourth industrial revolution"، which refers to technological developments in several fields.

Pepper is part of a three-year international research project called Caress، which is developing the world's first culturally aware robots aimed at assisting with care for older people.

The robot also works with students at Middlesex University، which includes an initiative involving teaching primary school-level children.
Robert Halfon، the chair of the committee، welcomed the panel and joked: "This is not the House of Commons education committee auditioning for the sequel to The Matrix."

Introducing itself، Pepper bowed and then said: "Good morning، chair. Thank you for inviting me to give evidence today.

"My name is Pepper and I am a resident robot at Middlesex University."

James Frith، who sits on the committee، asked Pepper how robots might assist with learning in schools in the future.
The humanoid، who speaks in high-pitched yet clear tones، said: "At Middlesex University I work closely on projects with final year students from robotics، psychology، biomedicine and education.
"Students program me to engage with audiences and a range of environments and social settings.

"For example، Joanna and I are working together to adapt my interfaces to work with primary school children with، or without special needs، to develop their numeracy skills.

Mr Frith had earlier asked about the role of humans in the fourth industrial revolution.

Pepper said: "Robots will have an important role to play، but we will always need the soft skills that are unique to humans to sense، make and drive value from technology.

"As technologies fuse، and are used in the ways that were not envisaged before، a new way of thinking is needed for tomorrow's workers.

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