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Humanoid robot starts work at Japanese department store

Monday, April 20, 2015 - 01:27

A Tokyo department store “hires” a robot to be the shop’s new receptionist. Tara Cleary reports.

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Mitsukoshi department store's newest employee caused quite a media stir on her first day at work. Aiko Chihira is a humanoid robot designed by Toshiba to interact with customers. Toshiba's New Development Group Manager, Hitoshi Tokuda, says though Chihira was programmed to speak Japanese, she can also become fluent in other languages, like Mandarin. SOUNDBITE: Hitoshi Tokuda, Toshiba New Business Development Division Group Manager, saying (Japanese): "It would be good if we can have her provide guidance, or recommend various things in Chinese, so that one day people can be looking around and think, 'Oh if Aiko is around, she can speak Chinese!' That is what I hope will happen." Chihira even showed of her singing skills. Or perhaps she was just lip-syncing? Nonetheless visitors to the store were impressed. SOUNDBITE: Chozaimon and Sasae Ohi, store visitors, saying (Japanese): CHOZAIMON OHI: "I was surprised by the robot." SASAE OHI: "The present and future are becoming amazing things." CHOZAIMON OHI: "I'm just so surprised that human being's engineering has got to this point." Chihira will greet customers until May 5th, but because it isn't programmed to respond to complaints, the android's department store career may be short-lived.

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Humanoid robot starts work at Japanese department store

Monday, April 20, 2015 - 01:27