Robots drive the AI market

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 11.52.02Softbank sold 300 Pepper robots in February and that’s going to drive the artificial intelligence and app market to develop faster than most people think.

According to market research company Trendforce, while the Pepper robot (pictured) is primarily available now to the commercial market, later this year Softbank and French startup Aldebaran will sell it to the general public, fuelled by third party apps people are currently creating.

Pepper is a versatile robot and it’s claimed it can recognise peoples’ emotions, something that some people have trouble doing. The machine costs Y198,000 but coupled to that is a cloud service that costs Y24,600 per month. The inventors, Aldebaran, describe Pepper as the first social robot.

Application developers can be programmed with extra emotions and as it does so, it will react faster to its owner’s desires.

Trendforce is really bullish about this because it imagines that the arrival of Pepper the robot to the marketplace will create a market comparable to computers, to the internet and to smartphones.

The market size for service robots has already exceeded five million units and will grow by 20 percent this year, the analysts think.