Most of the problems in the world ranging from those between friends and even nations could be solved through effective communication. Researchers in Italy have attempted a move in this respect – they programmed a robot named Pepper, made by SoftBank Robotics. Now, why is it interesting? Because, it has the ability to “think out loud” just like the Ed Sheeran Song!
“There is a link between inner speech and subconsciousness [in humans], so we wanted to investigate this link in a robot,” said the study’s lead author, Arianna Pipitone from the University of Palermo.
Pepper is programmed so that it can vocalize its thought processes. This can be beneficial when it has a different opinion than that requested, which can clear the air and lead to a more productive conversation.
In one instance, it was decided that Pepper would help a human user set a dinner table in line with etiquette rules. When the human user asked Pepper to contradict the rules of etiquette by placing the napkin at the wrong spot, the robot started talking to itself, concluding that the human may be confused and enquiring whether it should proceed with the action. Once the user confirmed his request, the Pepper said to itself: “This situation upsets me. I would never break the rules, but I can’t upset him, so I’m doing what he wants,” placing the napkin in the spot requested.The Guardian