Meet Aiko Chihira, Humanoid Robot Cashier


The future of robotic technology is here. . . Sure, it’s a bit more life-sized Barbie and a bit less Minority Report, but it’s here. In May 2015, Toshiba focused its futuristic tech on Tokyo’s upscale Mitsukoshi department store, where we find a rather beautiful, thirty-year-old (looking) store clerk, tirelessly working her robotic, all-too-human arms—and almost fooling department store shoppers with her lifelike appearance.

Aiko Chihira can spew a very detailed story about the flagship department store, speak fluent Japanese, flitter her fingers in Japanese sign language, and even sing in hers and other languages. The attention to detail on her fleshed-out face and hands is nearly impeccable, although her movements are chaotic and far from fluid.

Why should you care what’s happening in Japan? Alas: the success of Chihira affirms that she and robots like her, pegging to take over our many positions across the earth, are our future.

How will Chihira change our experience at our local department store forever?

1. No More Small Talk.


Introverts or people who hate mundane conversation: take note. With Chihira: not a word or a spark of eye contact is necessary. She wasn’t born; she has no gossip or memories. This is the dream.

2. No More Judging.


People prone to last-minute “bad purchasing decisions,” get ready. With Chihira, you can grab those candy bars, bags of chips, cigarettes, beef jerky, and other late-night items in the grocery aisle all you want. Chihira will not scoff at your life choices. In fact, she wishes she could make bad decisions–or decisions at all!

3. No More Bad Information.

People on super-quick errands: take note. Chihira can point you in the right direction inside the store immediately. It’s like she was programmed to do it!

4. No More Fear of Being Short-Changed.

Shoppers everywhere: take note. Chihira is a computer. Numbers are her game. She’s not going to make any mistakes during your exchange. You’ll get your change; you’ll leave with what you needed. This (almost) pretty robot is infallible.

How do you think the future of humanoid robotics (and robotic clerks!) will affect your life?