Enraged drunk kicks ‘emotion-reading’ Pepper robot in Japan

© Yuya Shino
A Japanese man in Kanagawa has been arrested for attacking a Pepper emotion-reading robot in a drunken rage, local media report. The 60 year-old was at a SoftBank store, arguing with a member of staff, and then decided to take it out on the humanoid.

Kiichi Ishikawa fell into a fit of rage and started kicking the robot, according to The Japan Times. The expensive machine costs $1,600 and the man had to admit he damaged property.

Peppers are gaining popularity in Japan. The first batch of the emotionally-capable robots hit stores last June and sold out within a minute. The machine is capable of sensing and reflecting feelings such as anger, joy and frustration – also cracking jokes and changing the tone of its voice.

However, it is unclear how Pepper reacted to that very fit of anger. Police say the man could have damaged the robot as it now moves more slowly.

READ MORE: Pepper first emotional humanoid robot to be sold in Japan for $1,600

“Robots have already surpassed human beings in calculation and memory, but I have no doubt that the time will come when they will surpass in wisdom as well,” Softbank’s head, Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son said back in June. 

SoftBank also plans to launch several models for enterprises, 'Pepper for Biz,' this autumn. The company wants its robots to serve as baby-sitters, medical workers or even party companions in the future. Robots are already being used at stores including SoftBank's own mobile phone shops.