Pepper, the humanoid robot from SoftBank, has had a variety of odd jobs in recent years, but a concert at the Smithsonian may be the most prestigious. Starting today, visitors can interact with Pepper at six Smithsonian locations to get more information about the museum, play games or ask them to pose for a selfie. It even has its own security badge.
Unlike some other commercial locations, the Smithsonian did not actually buy the Pepper robots for the museum. SoftBank donated 25 humanoid units as part of an experimental program to attract people to "less-crowded galleries", which the company believes can help boost visitors' participation with works of art and help teachers to be a Interactive tool to educate your groups. SoftBank says that more Pepper robots will be deployed in additional Smithsonian locations during the summer, because nothing says that a summer job in the city is like unpaid work.
The last time a robot made headlines in DC, he threw himself into a water source shortly after starting his job as a security guard, so I hope Pepper will survive the stress of working in the nation's capital. Pepper's record for being good at his job and being nice is a bit varied; Earlier this year, he was fired from a supermarket job for "incompetence" after confusing and scaring customers instead of providing useful business information. In 2015, a drunk man kicked Pepper after he discovered that his attitude was unpleasant.
What can I say? The service industry is tough, Pepper! Maybe it will be worth something after putting the Smithsonian on your resume.