In This Issue
Week of 05/21/2018
Vol. 23 Issue 18
SNS: The Robot Future
An Interview With Steve Carlin
Chief Strategy Officer, Softbank Robotics
Hosted by Evan Anderson and Donna Shillinger
- About Steve Carlin
- About Evan Anderson
- About Donna Shillinger
On May 2 of this year (2018), Strategic News Service’s Evan Anderson and Donna Shillinger met with Steve Carlin, chief strategy officer at SoftBank Robotics, and members of his team to discuss the bright present and brighter future of robotics. They covered the lighter side of robotics, from social engineering to the changes in customer satisfaction that robots are already offering businesses today. In this conversation, at least, there was no Skynet. Unlike the more sinister-looking DARPA creatures readers may have seen, Pepper, Softbank’s human assistant bot, is an unlikely candidate for Doomsday Machine. – era.
“Evan R. Anderson: I’m here with Steve Carlin, CSO of Softbank Robotics, one of the biggest robotics companies in the world. We’re here at Collision Conference in New Orleans, which is a fantastic city, so no complaints there. How are you doing, Steve?
Steve Carlin: Very good.
EA: So, you’re one of the biggest robotics companies in the world, and you have a signature humanoid robot named Pepper. We were just talking about how you’ve been working with some middle-school classes programming Pepper for tasks, so maybe we’ll start there with something fun. How did that go?
SC: First off, we are so excited to bring Pepper to New Orleans and be able to work with this local school – it’s called Ursuline Academy. They brought about 30 7th-grade girls to spend about three hours with us and learn how to program Pepper. What’s amazing about the form factor of Pepper is that you can relatively easily – we have a great software interface for learning, but you can relatively easily program a physical thing to go do things. So you can see the product of the work you’re doing manifest itself in a real thing, and that’s a great way to hook folks on wanting to become software engineers or roboticists or anything in between. We’re just very fortunate to have the kind of tool that facilitates learning. We’ll talk more about that down the road, but we’re trying to explore how to make that more pervasive.
EA: Yeah, and it sort of harkens back to my childhood, when they had these Lego robotics kits and you could program it, and you could almost pick out which kids in the class were going to be engineers, right?