看多了《机械姬》、《铁甲钢拳》、《异形》这类科幻片的人大概会把机器人想象得无所不能,但事实上,机器人连超市普通店员的工作都胜任不了。它不能引导顾客找到他们想要的商品,也干不好试吃推销员的工作,顾客们甚至会躲着它绕道而行。在试用了一个星期后,机器人就被超市解雇了。不过,它在同事中的人缘还不坏,在它被打包带走的时候,甚至有店员流下了惜别的眼泪。1.png截图来自每日电讯报网站    Fears that robots could take the jobs of humans may be premature after Britain’s first cyborg shop assistant was sacked after a week of confusing customers.
担心机器人会抢走人类饭碗也许为时过早。英国首个机器人店员日前被解雇了,因为在这之前的一周内,它把顾客们搞得晕头转向。
In an experiment run by Heriot-Watt University for the BBC’s Six Robots & US, Scottish supermarket chain Margiotta was asked to trial ‘ShopBot’, who they affectionately named ‘Fabio’.
在赫瑞瓦特大学为BBC的《六个机器人和美国》节目开展的一项实验中,科学家请求苏格兰连锁超市Margiotta试用“机器人店员”,这个机器人还有一个亲切的名字叫法比奥。
Fabio was programmed with directions to hundreds of items in the company’s flagship Edinburgh store and initially charmed customers with his ‘hello gorgeous’ greeting, playful high fives, jokes and offers of hugs.
法比奥的程序指令就是为该公司的爱丁堡旗舰店的数百件商品指明方向,并用“你好,美人”这样的招呼、调皮的举手击掌、开玩笑和拥抱来给顾客留下美好的第一印象。
2.png截图来自每日电讯报网站    “We thought a robot was a great addition to show the customers that we are always wanting to do something new and exciting,” said Elena Margiotta, who runs the chain of shops with father Franco and sister Luisa.
和父亲弗兰科、妹妹路易莎一起经营这家连锁店的埃琳娜•马吉奥塔说:“我们原以为机器人有助于向顾客展示我们一直想尝试一些新奇刺激的事情。”
But within just a few days, the robot was demoted after giving unhelpful advice such as ‘it’s in the alcohol section’ when asked where to find beer. He also struggled to understand shoppers’ requests because of the ambient background noise.
但是才过了几天,机器人就因为提供毫无帮助的建议而被降职,顾客问它哪里可以找到啤酒,它回答说“在酒水区”。而且由于周围的背景噪音,它难以听懂顾客的需求。
3.png截图来自每日电讯报网站    Banished to an aisle where he was only allowed to offer samples of pulled pork, Fabio started to alarm customers who went out of their way to avoid him.
于是法比奥被放逐到商店的一个过道中,在那里它只被允许为顾客提供手撕猪肉的试吃样品,但是法比奥似乎吓到了顾客,为了不遇到法比奥,顾客们开始绕道而行。
While human staff managed to tempt 12 customers to try the meat every 15 minutes, Fabio only managed to two.
做同样推销工作的人类职员每过15分钟就能吸引12名顾客来试吃猪肉,而法比奥只能吸引两名顾客。
Luisa Margiotta, soon realized the robot was actually putting off shoppers.
路易莎很快意识到机器人实际正在吓走顾客。
“Unfortunately Fabio didn’t perform as well as we had hoped,” she said. “People seemed to be actually avoiding him. ”
“不幸的是,法比奥的表现不像我们希望的那么好,”她说,“人们似乎都在躲着它。”
“Conversations didn't always go well. An issue we had was the movement limitations of the robot. It was not able to move around the shop and direct customers to the items they were looking for.
“交谈并不总是行得通。我们存在的一个问题是机器人的行动受到限制。它不能在商店各处行走,引导顾客找到他们想要的商品。”
“Instead it just gave a general location, for example, 'cheese is in the fridges', which was not very helpful.”
“所以它只能给出大致方向,比如,‘奶酪在冰箱里’,这种回答没有太大帮助。”
4.png截图来自每日电讯报网站    However when Franco Margiotta, who built the business from scratch, told the little robot they would not be renewing his contract, Fabio asked: “Are you angry?” and some staff were reduced to tears when he was packed away and shipped back to Heriot-Watt.
但是,当白手起家的弗兰科告诉这个小机器人,他们将不再和它续签合同时,法比奥问:“你们生气了吗?”当法比奥被打包带走,运回赫瑞瓦特大学时,还有一些员工流下了眼泪。
Dr Oliver Lemon, director of the Interaction Lab at Heriot-Watt, admits he was surprised by the reaction his invention got.
赫瑞瓦特大学互动实验室的主任奥利弗•雷蒙博士承认,他对于自己的发明取得的反应感到吃惊。
“One of things we didn't expect was the people working in the shop became quite attached to it.
“我们没有料到的一件事是店员们对机器人产生了感情。”
“When we had to pack it up and put it back in the box one of them started crying.
“当我们不得不把机器人打包放进盒子里时,有一个店员还哭了起来。”
“It was good in a way, because we thought the opposite would happen and they would feel threatened by it because it was competing for their job.
“这在某种程度上是好事,因为我们原以为结果会正相反,他们会因为机器人抢夺自己的工作而感到受威胁。”
“In actual fact they thought it was an enhancement because it was able to deal with frequent and boring requests, like customers constantly asking where things are, which I think they found quite helpful.”
“事实上,他们认为机器人是有益的,因为机器人能帮忙处理频繁乏味的请求,比如顾客会不停地问东西放在哪里,我想在这方面店员认为机器人还是相当给力的。”
Asked whether robots could one day replace shop workers, Luisa Margiotta was sceptical.
在被问及机器人有一天是否会取代店员时,路易莎表示怀疑。
She added: “We find our customers love a personal interaction and speaking to our staff is a big part of that.
她补充说:“我发现我们的顾客喜欢人与人之间的互动,和我们的职员交谈是很重要的一部分互动。”
“Our staff members know our regulars very well and can have conversations on a daily basis, and I doubt robots would be able to fulfil this.
“我们的职员和我们店的常客非常熟,每天都会聊一聊,我怀疑机器人能否胜任这一工作。”
“It is possible, I believe, that robots could assist with roles such as warehouse-based tasks, but I doubt they will ever eliminate the need for human interaction.
“我相信,机器人也许能够辅助完成仓库里的任务,但是我怀疑它们能消除人类互动的需求。”
“I am confident there will be plenty of retail jobs available for people as and when they need them in the future.”
“我相信未来只要有人需要,还会有很多零售业职位向人类开放。”