UJ students interact with Pepper, SA’s first client-friendly humanoid robot

​The University of Johannesburg (UJ) received a visit from South Africa’s first client-friendly humanoid robot on Monday, 12 August 2019.

Pepper, a humanoid chat robot, powered by artificial intelligence, provided students a glimpse of the future at UJ’s Library at Auckland Park Bunting Road campus.

Dr Abejide Ade-Ibijola (the Lead of the Technopreneurship Centre, School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, UJ) in collaboration with Bridge Labs Founders (Mr Musa Kalenga and Mr Kola Olajide) presented on what robots like Pepper could do for humans in the future and the safety concerns of this type of technology

Students had a chance to ask Pepper questions, like what is his interests and whether robots will take over the world. Pepper gave some insight on how he views his own communication with humans.

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Dr Ade-Ibijola pointed out that humanoid robots are being implemented to replace existing technologies, such as touch screen information kiosks. So robots will be able to support front end meet and greet jobs like giving information, taking an order or booking a hotel. “Yes, it may be startling but the more we bring life into the robots, the more people will accept the robots into their lives. That makes the difference,” he said.

* Pepper is a day-to-day companion who can perceive human emotions, can communicate with one in the most natural and intuitive way through body movements, voice, change in eye colour and the tablet on his chest. Pepper familiarises himself with your traits, likes, and dislikes, attempting to adapt and fit in with you. Throughout the day, hundreds of students interacted with Pepper; watched him dance, make jokes, and play music.

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