It’s funny how we’re constantly fantasising about a future where robots have taken over our daily lives.
Just look at how the cyberpunk genre has bloated significantly ever since the turn of the millennium, with the likes of I, Robot, Ex Machina, and modern takes of Westworld, Terminator and Robocop taking the entertainment medium by storm.
But what if we told you they’re literally taking over our daily lives today?
In Japan, at least, there seems to be some form of that future manifesting before our very eyes. Recently, the Family Mart convenience store chain has been doing somewhat of a structural overhaul to its staff, in the form of VR-controlled robots in its ranks.
This was done in collaboration with Telexistence, a robotics firm based in Tokyo, in effort to facilitate a more seamless and flexible work environment, and will free up staff to be able to tend to more pressing matters at hand.
These machines are remotely controlled by staff donning virtual reality headsets and controllers, and serve the sole purpose of stocking shelves immediately after customers take items from them.
Though not entirely automatic, these bots certainly resemble those seen in I, Robot. Who knows if one day they’ll become sentient and start a rebellion.
In any case, the Family Mart robots are slowly being introduced to outlets across Japan, with the aim of equipping at least 20 such branches in the country by 2022.
Provided all goes well, the company and Telexistence are in talks to consider building and deploying more units across Japan.