Are you ready for the customer service robots?

Toshiba has developed “female” customer service robots to help travelers. They look human but with that definite level of creepiness that comes from interacting with a machine that resembles a person but not quite. Hilton and IBM are developing a concierge robot. At least this robot looks like a robot, more like a toy really, and I think that’s the better way to go. Developing robots to help travelers makes sense if it cuts costs and improves service. The problem is when the engineers try to make the robots look like humans but don’t really look human. I’m sure it won’t be long before we can’t tell the difference between a person and a robot, but it creeps me out to have to talk to a computer voice on the phone to get customer service and it will be so much worse having to do it face to face with a rubber faced robot. I think the best use of this technology is going to be with language translation, making it much easier to get around in foreign countries where you don’t know the language and the robots can answer your questions in your native language. I’d just rather the engineers spend more time on the results than on how the robot looks. I don’t want to talk to a machine that looks like it should be in a science fiction movie. The future is coming, but sometimes the future is best left to science fiction instead of science reality. Are you ready to get your customer service from a robot?