The companion robot that sold out in less that a minute just three months ago is already being used and abused by its human owners.
Pepper’s makers call it an “emotional” robot, designed to interact with and entertain humans. According to various reports, the user contract, which is in Japanese, specifically outlaws “acts for the purpose of sexual or indecent behavior.”
Which, really, should go without saying. Pepper is decidedly sweet and innocent. It’s creators have even resisted assigning the robot a gender.
But while Pepper is just Pepper, the ability of human minds to get stuck in the gutter is boundless. One group of hackers has already developed an app that gives Pepper virtual breasts, and she reacts as you fondle them.
It doesn’t stop there. A 60-year-old man was arrested earlier this month after kicking a Pepper at a SoftBank location in Japan.
Why can’t we all just get along? Perhaps this is the sort of thing these ethicists who are calling for a wholesale ban on sex robots are worried about.
Humans are complex and flawed organisms. The same brains that could imagine a robot as interesting and social as Pepper are also capable of taking out their aggressions and weird sexual fantasies on a defenceless robot.
What does the future hold for Pepper as she fearlessly marches forth into the world? Hopefully, more inspiration and innovation than breast fondling and kicks to the shin.