Pepper’s human overlords have demonstrated that their robotic baby can learn how to play the ball-and-cup game virtually on its own. At first, they guide its arm to swing the ball on its rope into the cup. And then they let it go to work through trial-and-error until it achieves complete mastery of the game. After 100 tries, the little guy is a pro and gets the ball in the cup every single time. All the while, it stares at us the viewer with the same deadlocked side eye. It’s unnerving.
Maybe something changed in Pepper when it got mixed up with IBM’s Watson earlier this year, but there’s something sinister going on here. Or maybe it’s just thinking about a dirty joke and trying to keep from laughing.