LONDON - MAY 06: The Shadow Robot company's dextrous hand robot holds an Apple at the Streetwise Robots event held at the Science Museum's Dana Centre on May 6, 2008 in London, England. T
Jeff J Mitchell—Getty Images
By Ethan Wolff-Mann
March 14, 2016

Robots are getting uncomfortably realistic, and, if Hollywood is any metric, people are getting more and more creative about how we’re going to use them in the future.

It may not be long, for example, until androids replace sales associates. According to Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, Japanese men don’t like talking with staff at stores because they might get pressured after they indicate they’re interested in making a purchase. “But they don’t hesitate to talk to the android,” he said at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, adding that a “robot never tells a lie, and that is why the android can sell lots of clothes.”

Ishiguro and his lab at the University have been studying and testing real-world applications of robots and how people would react to them, according to Adweek, and have found numerous possibilities, like providing a practice partner for foreign languages and assisting shoppers.

With the ubiquity of Google’s voice recognition, Apple’s Siri, and customer service robots, people aren’t weirded out by talking to robots anymore, and in Ishiguro’s view, new applications and personal robots are likely.

“They never get tired and never go to the toilet—or at least I assume,” he added.

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