24 May 2016

NEWS: Singapore Pizza Huts staffed by actual robots. No joke

I'm sorry. You can't order that, Dave.

Planning a trip to Singapore soon? If you are, and if you pop into a Pizza Hut over there, there is a good chance that your order will be taken by a robot. Before the end of 2016 Mastercard will install an actual working interactive robot in one Pizza Hut store, allowing customers to chat to it, ask it questions about their pizza, and then pay. If you think that is creepy, just wait...

If you use Mastercard's Masterpass mobile app to pay for things wirelessly, the robot (which is based on Softbank Robotic's Pepper robot) will be able to read the info stored in the app and automatically know not just your name, but also your purchase history. "Hello Helen," the little freaky thing will say as you enter Pizza Hut. "Would you like to order your favourite pizza - meatballs with meatballs ground up in the sauce. With a side of meatballs?" Weird.

Fortunately Pepper can't just charge an order instantly to your Mastercard (you'll need to authorise the payment manually through your app), but it does go to show you just what is around the corner. You've got a tonne of info about yourself right now on your phone, and increasingly there are technologies (not all of them as adorable as Pepper, mind) ready to read it all. Just how soon will it be until you bump into a robot that says: "Those bikini photos of you on holiday are lovely. You've really lost the baby weight. Pizza?"


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