Pepper the robot can perform funerary rites, but it shouldn’t

It’s not really clear just what “humanoid” robots are actually for. I’ve seen them do all kinds of things, but almost none of them well; at our recent Robotics event in Boston, several leading experts in the field questioned their necessity. But we grew up with Data and Robby and Cylons, and so now we have Pepper. Pepper, performing funeral rites for cash-strapped people in Japan. Really?

This week is ENDEX, the Tokyo International Funeral and Cemetery Show and Life Ending Industry Expo — which, sure, isn’t for everyone, but honestly is a very important industry and one in which technology plays an increasing role.

But while I can get behind the idea of robotic grave cleaners, epitaph etchers, urn retrievers and things along those lines, this seems like a step in the…

Read Story