On a recent trip to New York, I stopped by a bank on Fifth Avenue, where I was greeted by a friendly employee named Pepper. We exchanged a few pleasantries before she provided me with information on what the bank had to offer. Then she asked a few questions before pointing me to another staff member for more specific assistance.
All pretty standard, right? But here’s the twist: Pepper is a robot.
Standing four feet tall, Pepper recognizes faces and emotions. She can respond through voice or by displaying messages on a tablet embedded in her torso. Resembling an affable futuristic doll, Pepper is not only a unique conversation piece, but a tangible glimpse into the future of financial technology.
One of the perks of my work in digital-products management is that I frequently get to experience some of the industry’s most groundbreaking gadgets, and meet with the bright individuals working on these advancements. I first made Pepper’s acquaintance during a visit to the innovation lab at one of the largest Canadian banks in Toronto. It was there I learned and witnessed that Pepper gladly poses for “selfies,” tells jokes and even does a little dance if a human staff member isn’t immediately available.
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