No sex of any kind for Pepper the robot, say creators

Pepper the Robot
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.

Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.

Cities looking to get smart take a lesson from an iconic shopping mall

From Disney World to the Mall of America, public venues are becoming microcosms for smart city projects. We dove into both, to show what government officials can learn – and what you can expect from your city.