The Robots Are Coming


Last year a handsome humanoid in a pinstripe suit and an eerie incarnation of Audrey Hepburn debated humankind at Hong Kong tech conference RISE, this year the Smithsonian has employed automated tour-bots to guide you through the galleries...


Pepper Smithsonian 6


Standing at four feet tall Pepper and it’s (gender neutral) co-worker clones were put in place earlier this month at six of the Smithsonian museums, research centers, and educational spaces with a view to increasing engagement in the arts – and getting those millennials through its doors. Leveraging the latest android technology Pepper can answer FAQ’s, tell stories, collect information and even pose for a picture!


Although all exchanges are currently pre-scripted (because robots don’t have natural conversational abilities – yet!), the pilot programme has been a big hit; so much so, there are plans to roll out Pepper into nearly all Smithsonian museums and research centers with 100 more automatons already on order from Softbank.


So why not swing by the National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Smithsonian Castle or the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to soak up some culture, oh, and be the first of your friends to take a selfie with a robot…