By Aaron Kesel
HSBC, will test robots created by SoftBank Robotics, in the lobby of their Fifth Avenue branch in midtown Manhattan, CNBC reported.
The robots are not only designed to interact with customers but also take selfies, dance and tell jokes. Pepper, one of the robots equipped with a tablet on its chest at the HSBC Manhattan branch, danced to a techno beat in a demonstration according to CNBC.
This marks the second known test of robots for banking; the first being a bank in China, Construction Bank (CCB), that opened a Shanghai branch run entirely by robots in a testing phase for finance with little to no human involvement, Activist Post reported.
Robots are beginning to take over every aspect of society. They are also headed for retail businesses delivering freight and eliminating truckers. But, again, robots malfunction. In fact, it sounds quite dangerous allowing a freight truck to drive itself; if the sensors break down on a big rig truck going 60-70 MPH, that’s potentially 40 tons barreling down the highway unattended except by artificial intelligence. As Activist Post reported back in March, Uber had to halt nationwide testing of its A.I. vehicles following the death of a pedestrian in Arizona. And that was a car actually attended by a human back-up operator.
Automation clearly isn’t a foolproof technology, and it can also be exploited by hackers for malicious purposes that could even include programming a bot to kill an individual.
Not even journalists are safe from robot replacements.
All this sets a potentially dangerous precedent. We already have a lack of work – what happens when the great robot apocalypse occurs? Things aren’t going to be pretty. With robots taking our jobs, who will afford these products? One potential solution is to shift away from a monetary economy and more towards a self-sustainable resource economy like the proposed “Venus Project.”
Even fast food chains and restaurants in the past few years like McDonald’s have decided to experiment to see if they can replace workers with robots. While McDonald’s or any business isn’t going to replace workers overnight, the transition will happen quicker than a lot of people think.
If the tests prove to be successful and efficient, then HSBC and other banks will likely begin to roll out the robots across different branches. HSBC has more than 228 branches in the U.S. alone.
The overall problem of increased automation and use of robots is loss of jobs and the need to supplement with a universal basic income, which Elon Musk recently stated “will be necessary over time if (AI) artificial intelligence takes over most human jobs.”
The Tesla founder has previously said that artificial intelligence is potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons. That’s a shared thought with scientist Stephen Hawking, who also previously warned that “artificial intelligence could spell the end for the human race If we are not careful enough because they are too clever.”
For now, Pepper is just a robot to help with banking at HSBC, but let’s not allow MIT to get a hold of it and create another serial killer robot persona like Norman.