Pepper, the robot that can read human emotions, comes with a set of comprehensive instructions and guidelines, preparing owners for life with him. Dig deeply enough, and there are some rules related to ethics and proper conduct, and one in particular has been gaining headlines in Japan — there will be no sex for Pepper.
Written in Japanese legal speak, ensuring it’s even more open to interpretation than usual, the loosely translated rule states using Pepper for “acts for the purpose of sexual or indecent behavior, or for the purpose of associating with unacquainted persons of the opposite sex” is prohibited, and would break the ownership contract.
What exactly does it mean? No-one seems to be sure, but many take it to mean owners shouldn’t try having sex with Pepper, something that’s not specifically mentioned in the rule, but could certainly be read that way. It also sounds like Pepper can’t become a pimp, or be used to hook people up either in the area or over the Internet.
Ultimately, it means Pepper has to be a good robot, and avoid any sexual activity, directly or indirectly, forever. There’s a good chance this is what SoftBank — the Japanese mobile network and Pepper’s creator — wanted to ensure with this rule, hence the deliberately open wording. After all, the last thing it would want is Pepper standing outside a house-of-ill-repute greeting potential customers, or for him to solely be a ‘pleasure robot.’
Pepper’s emotional core also means his personality will change over time based on his interactions with people. This would hint that a promiscuous Pepper would become even more promiscuous as time went on, another reason SoftBank would probably prefer he remained innocent. Whether there are future owners out there who will disregard this rule and have their wicked way with poor Pepper, remains to be seen.
Pepper was first revealed in June, and is a domestic robot that apparently has the ability to interact with humans in a natural — just not that natural — way. He costs around $1,800, and the first production run of 2,000 ‘bots sold out in just 60-seconds.