Retailers and manufacturers are increasingly relying on robots, and not just behind the scenes in the form of tireless assembly arms or driverless transport systems. Since the robot "Paul" first began drawing crowds to the Saturn shop in Ingolstadt and boosting the number of customers, duplicates are now in use in another Saturn store (this time in Hamburg) and at the Europa-Center mall in Berlin. Paul can talk and offer exact information on product ranges – and even knows where items are located within the store.
Made in France, "Pepper" is capable of even more – not least thanks to his human appearance. At the Edeka Stengel store in Fürth, not only do the service droids do a little dance – they also hand out samples. A satisfaction survey has revealed that customers were even more honest with Pepper than with human interviewers.
Should Pepper or Paul hurt a customer, the store operators are liable, something that could change if the motion of the EU Parliament to give robots the status of an "electronic person" is adopted. Experts from the areas of research, science, economics and politics have issued warnings in an open letter to the EU Commission. The entire situation is reminiscent of the Swedish TV series "Real Humans" , which revolves around this controversial topic.