Why does this robot act like a bad customer?

Answer: To help people get better at interacting with the real thing.

by / November 30, 2018

Furhat Robotics’ “Employee Training Robot” does its job by acting like a jerk all the time. The robot bust, which is only a little bit creepy-looking, uses a wide-angle high-resolution camera, stereo speakers and beamforming microphones to help train employees how to react to difficult customers.

The robot gets its face thanks to a 3D-printed mask and a projector. It can create the appearance of a man, woman, child or animal (though the last one is probably only used in the most bizarre of training scenarios). The face can maintain eye contact and display emotions, adding to the overall effect.

“Social simulation is a very interesting category of use cases where a robot can simulate a character in a social interaction in order to teach humans how to get better at a certain task,” Furhat Robotics CEO Samer Al Moubayed told Digital Trends. One customer of the Sweden-based startup, Rabobank in the Netherlands, is using its robot to help employees practice delivering bad news to customers.