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Project of the Month: A world first as EU-funded project robot gives evidence on AI in a parliamentary hearing

Pepper the robot made history by being the first ever robot to give evidence during a parliamentary hearing, specifically to the British House of Commons’ Education Select Committee. Pepper was notably asked about the role that artificial intelligence (AI) could play as part of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ and how robots can assist with learning in schools in the future.

© VTT Studio, Shutterstock

The Pepper robot that appeared in front of the committee, whilst not itself being equipped with the software specifically developed by the EU-funded CARESSES project, is owned by Middlesex University in the UK, which is a member of the CARESSES consortium. The robotic software being developed specifically by the project has been installed in another Pepper robot and has been spearheaded by four other consortium members – the University of Genova, Orebro University, SoftBank Robotics and JAIST University in Japan. The CARESSES project, mentioned specifically during the hearing, is developing the world’s first culturally-aware robots, aimed specifically at assisting with care for older people. After being questioned by the members of the House of Commons, Pepper received a resounding round of applause. If you want to see Pepper in action, visit BBC News. “Robots will have an important role to play, but we will always need the soft skills that are unique to humans to sense, make and drive value from technology. As technologies fuse and are used in the ways that were not envisaged before, a new way of thinking is needed for tomorrow's workers. We will need people that can spot ideas and think across traditional sector divides to drive value from technological innovation.” - Pepper the robot, speaking at the UK House of Commons, Tuesday 16 October 2018 If you are interested in having your project featured in ‘Project of the Month’ in an upcoming issue, please send us an email to editorial@cordis.europa.eu and tell us why!

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