Will humans shop at a store run mostly by robots?

SoftBank Group Corp., the Japanese parent of Sprint, will test what it claims to be the first store to be run largely by robots. Five or six of the company’s Pepper humanoid robots will greet shoppers, demonstrate cellphones and make purchasing suggestions. They will also use a tablet to assist customers in handling order processing and finalize data plans. Some human staffers will be present in the back to check customers’ IDs and for maintenance, but customers will be able to purchase a phone without human contact. The test will run from Mar. 28 to Apr. 3 at a store in Tokyo. Built with cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) that allows it to recognize voices and to run apps, the Pepper robot is designed to discern emotions in human voices and…


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