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'Robot who can love' lands job as Nescafé salesman

Landing a job as a Nescafé salesman is a far cry from the apocalyptic future Terminator predicted for artificially intelligent robots, but everyone's got to start somewhere right?

Nestle has announced it will be the first corporate customer to enlist the services of Softbank's "robot that could fall in love with you," christened Pepper.

Pairing cloud-based artificial intelligence with an "emotional engine," the Japanese company's robot made headlines back in June for claims that humans could interact with it "just like they would with friends and family." As Japan faces chronic labour shortages, Nestle's decision to put Pepper to work in its stores is an interesting marketing strategy that is sure to put both sides on the world's radar once more.

Nestle has confirmed it will commission 20 of the robots in December to interact directly with customers in promoting the company's coffee machines. By the end of 201, the aim is to have a whole series of the waist-high mechanical humanoids working at 1,000 stores.

An exact sum of exactly how much Nestle is paying for Pepper has not been released. However, Softbank confirmed this year that the little robot would retail for 198,000 yen (£1,136).

The robotics industry has found a strong foothold in Japan over recent years. Estimates suggest that its robotics market was worth about 860 billion yen (£5 billion) in 2012 and with growing concerns over an ageing population and falling birth rates the popularity of robots is expected to increase.