Pepper The Robot Gives Evidence In Parliament – Pepper invited to give evidence in the Education Select Committee at the House of Commons. It took place Tuesday October 16
The Committee investigates education developments in the industry. Middlesex University has a resident student who is a robot and helps students with work.
Pepper included in a group of people from the University to give evidence. Chair of the Committee is MP Robert Halfon. He explained it was not a prank or audition for sequel to The Matrix. Impressed with staff and students at the Uni and wanted to know more.
Committee caused a bit of a stir with the idea that it would play host to its first non-human witness. A press release from one of Parliament’s select committees said it had invited Pepper the robot to “answer questions” on the impact of AI on the labor market.
But the evidence was prepared.
A number of AI and robotics researchers pointed out Pepper the robot is incapable of giving such evidence. It can certainly deliver a speech the same way Alexa can read out the news, but it can’t formulate ideas itself. One researcher told MIT Technology Review, “Modern robots are not intelligent and so can’t testify in any meaningful way.”
Parliament knew this. The Education Committee confirmed that Pepper would be providing preprogrammed answers written by robotics researchers from Middlesex University. They also testify on the same panel.
A Select Committee is a group of MPs who investigate an issue and report back to their peers.
What do you think of this idea? Is it a bit ludicrous or important? Did it matter that the answers were pre-programmed? Would you believe what was said? Let us know your thoughts. Should a similar robot be in all schools? Would students benefit the knowledge from Pepper? Would it worry the workforce to have a similar robot in the office or factory? Could a robot take over jobs? Is it the future in industry? Will they enter the workforce? Drop by our comment box and leave your views.
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