Middelesex University robot – Pepper – to be quizzed by MPs

A robot from Middlesex University is to be questioned by a panel of MPs next week – the first non-human to appear as a witness before the UK Parliament.

Pepper – ‘a culturally aware’ robot – was designed to assist with the care of older people. But next Tuesday she will be helping members of the education select committee understand the impact of artificial intelligence.

The committee will also quiz human experts during the session. The committee will hear about Pepper’s work with students at Middlesex University, including a project involving teaching primary school children.

After a demonstration by Pepper, the MPs will look at how robots can be used to support learning and how robotics will transform the workplace and classroom of the future.

“If we’ve got the march of the robots, we perhaps need the march of the robots to our select committee to give evidence,” Committee chair Robert Halfon said.

“The fourth industrial revolution is possibly the most important challenge facing our nation over the next 10, 20 to 30 years.”

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