A robot will appear before a select committee for what is believed to be the first time when Pepper answers questions from the Education Committee during a session on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the implications for education of developments in artificial intelligence.

Pepper is part of an international research project developing the world’s first culturally aware robots aimed at assisting with care for older people. The Committee will hear about her work with students across the faculties at Middlesex University, including a project involving teaching primary level children, and what role increased automation and robotics might play in the workplace and classroom of the future.

After a demonstration by Pepper, the Committee will explore with witnesses, including those from Middlesex University, how robots can be used to support learning, and the skills needed to adapt to the growth in artificial intelligence and automation.

The Committee will first question a panel of experts on the suitability of the current school curriculum, the importance of re-skilling and lifelong learning and the effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on social justice.

Witness schedule

Tuesday 16th October, Thatcher Room, 10am

Panel one: 

  • Professor Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design, UCL Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education, University College London 
  • Brian Holliday, Managing Director, Siemens Digital Factory 
  • Joysy John, Director of Education, NESTA 

Panel two: 

  • Pepper the robot 
  • Professor Martin Loomes, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Middlesex University 
  • Joana Da Cunha Miranda, final year BEng Robotics undergraduate, Middlesex University 
  • Nicholas James Fitton, final year BSc Computer Science undergraduate, Middlesex University  
  • Babak Jahanbani, General Manager, Festo Didactic

The meeting will be broadcast live on Parliament TV.

Middlesex University is part of an international three-year research project to develop and evaluate the world’s first culturally aware robots aimed at assisting in caring for the elderly. The research is jointly funded by the EU and the Japanese Government. 

Committee Membership: Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP (Con, Harlow), Lucy Allan MP (Con, Telford), Michelle Donelan MP (Con, Chippenham), Marion Fellows MP (SNP, Motherwell and Wishaw), James Frith MP (Lab, Bury North), Emma Hardy MP (Lab, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle), Trudy Harrison MP (Con, Copeland), Ian Mearns MP (Lab, Gateshead), Lucy Powell MP (Lab Co-op, Manchester Central), Thelma Walker MP (Lab, Colne Valley), William Wragg MP (Con, Hazel Grove)

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