Should robots have a face?

Firms learn the fine art of introducing automation without scaring staff and customers

When Tina Sorg first saw the robot rolling through her Giant supermarket in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, she said to herself, "That thing is a little weird." Programmed to detect spills and debris in the aisles, the robot looked like an inkjet printer with a long neck.

"It needed personality," said Ms Sorg, 55, who manages the store's beer and wine department. So, during one overnight shift, she went out to a nearby arts and craft store, brought back a large pair of googly eyes and, when no one was looking, affixed them on the top of the robot.

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month
  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2020, with the headline 'Should robots have a face?'. Subscribe