I’m not certain if we are all looking forward to or dreading the day when all the “menial laborers” of the world, such as checkout clerks, will be replaced by robots.
After all, my Safeway has four self-checkout stands. This PaPeRo robot is essentially designed to be a friendly presence at a self-checkout.
There is a video here so you can see it in action, and this robot teddy bear serves to instruct the buyer to scan and pay. By the way, it uses NEC’s Twinpos E-Money Self-Checkout System, which I am assuming is how this person in the video paid with their cellular phone. I can’t pay for anything at my local grocers with a cell phone as yet.
The NEC PaPeRo was recently shown off at RetailTech Japan 2010, and it is not available to purchase as yet. However, you can rent a PaPeRo R500 for a three-year contract.
Something tells me that becoming a clerk is not going to be a secure job. I suppose it’s about stable as working for a newspaper. I also suppose that we are all doing tasks that will eventually be made obsolete thanks to developments in technology. I hope that didn’t come across as too negative, as I realize that starts the fear of being replaced by a robot.
Honestly, I welcome new technology that makes our work easier, as it usually opens of the door for doing more work.