Pizza Robots Continue To Proliferate As Pizza Hut Tests Order-Taking Humanoid

It seems our future overlords are trying to butter us up before they dominate the human race, and by butter I really mean hot cheese, tomato sauce, and crust: Pizza Hut is the most recent pizza chain to have fallen under the sway of robots, with the test of a humanoid AI machine known in the robotics industry as Pepper.

Along with Pizza Hut Asia, MasterCard announced Tuesday that Pepper will be using artificial intelligence to interact with customers, and has an embedded MasterPass mobile wallet that allows it to take and process orders.

When customers address Pepper, the robot can read their facial expressions and understand natural language.

“The app’s goal is to provide consumers with more memorable and personalized shopping experiences beyond today’s self-serve machines and kiosks, by combining Pepper’s intelligence with a secure digital payment experience via MasterPass,” Tobias Puehse, vice president, innovation management, Digital Payments & Labs at MasterCard said in a statement.

Pizza Hut is planning to test the robot worker in an undetermined number of restaurants in Japan, by the end of this year. The companies haven’t decided how many stores will get a Pepper, a MasterCard spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.

Pepper was developed by SoftBank Robotics, and is known elsewhere in the robot worker world as a cruise ship worker, retail sales assistant, and other roles.

This is far from the first time we’ve noticed robots trying to get in good with their future captives by helping humans in the service industry: we’ve also seen robots working as hotel concierges, and of course, Domino’s announced in March that it’s also employed a pizza-delivery robot.