Nao, A Humanoid Robot To Debut At Japan's Mitsubishi Bank

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In April 2015, Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will welcome a new kind of employee - a humanoid robot called Nao. The bank's first non-human hire that stands 58-centimeters (22.8 inches) tall and weighs a mere 5.4 kilograms (12.7 pounds), is the brainchild of France's Aldebaran Robotics - a subsidiary of Japan's Softbank.

Though diminutive, Nao is no slouch. The tiny robot is programmed to converse fluently in 19 languages! A built-in camera "eye" and four microphone "ears" allow the robot to analyze customer emotions from their facial expressions and tone of voice, and respond appropriately.

While the real test is yet to come, Nao performed flawlessly during a recent demonstration. The friendly robot began by greeting the customer with a pleasant “Hello and welcome." It then went on say, “I can tell you about money exchange, ATMs, opening a bank account or overseas remittance. Which one would you like?”

Nao will initially begin "work" at only two retail locations. However, if all goes well, Mitsubishi intends to deploy the humanoid robot, nationwide. The company believes that Nao's superb linguistic skills and ability to work 24-hours a day will be invaluable, especially during the 2020 Summer Olympics, when the country expects to welcome visitors from all over the globe.

The Japanese bank is not the only one turning to "non-human" employees like Nao. As the country's workforce continues to shrink, many others are looking to hire the friendly robots in various capacities. In December 2014, Nestle Japan tested "Pepper", another Aldebaran-SoftBank humanoid robot to help sell its coffee machines. The trial was so successful that the company plans to roll out the $8,000 USD robots at up to 1,000 outlets by the end of 2015.

The operator of Nagasaki's Huis Ten Bosch theme park recently announced that its two-story Henn na (strange) Hotel, would have more robot employees than human ones, when it opens for business later this year. The company executives say that the humanoids will be performing all kinds of chores from helping customers with luggage to cleaning their rooms to even operating the front desk!


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Reading Comprehension (3 questions)

  1. In what ways is Nao different from a normal bank employee? What are some of its talents?
  2. What will Nao's duties be when it reports to work in April? Why will Nao be particularly important during the 2020 Summer Olympics?

Critical Thinking Challenge

What are some of the advantages of "employing" robots to do...

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  • Trainer GreenWednesday, April 11, 2018 at 7:29 am
    I want this
    • xpro
      xproTuesday, March 13, 2018 at 4:55 pm
      Skydiving? Awesome!
      • joshuaFriday, January 26, 2018 at 7:38 am
        • infernodragon
          infernodragonThursday, January 18, 2018 at 6:30 am
          i love this i want it
          • BoiTuesday, November 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm
            love this! hope to see it at a hotel!!!
            • CoryxkenshinWednesday, October 18, 2017 at 12:38 pm
              I cant talk in real life but I want one too and I really need because... I need it to help with homework
              • ellabonjella
                ellabonjellaMonday, September 25, 2017 at 10:15 pm
                • akshath3013874
                  akshath3013874Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 9:50 am
                  me want one someone give me plzz people
                  • zac Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm
                    I want two of them one orange and the other one black
                    • MERSunday, December 4, 2016 at 2:43 pm
                      I need to get better at the writing smaller

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