The World’s First Family Robot

Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Art

Jibo wants to be a member of your family. Jibo is a very sleek and, dare I say, cute little robot that is both humanly warm and helpful. It will keep you company. Order your dinner. Give you reminders. Take your pictures. And talk to you all day. The creator of Jibo wants us to think of technology as a partner in your everyday life not just a tool to accomplish a task. This will be a major shift in the relationship between man and machine. Aesthetically, Jibo reminds one of Eve, the female robotic love interest in the Pixar movie Wall-e. The game changer with Jibo is it’s predictive programming that not only remembers your preferences and choices but anticipates your wants and needs. Could this be the next step towards a mind-numbing life not unlike Captain B. McCrea and passengers of his spaceship, Axiom?

This is a significant step towards the humanization of robot-to-human interaction. The interactive experience has a very human-esque quality to it. This further blurs the line between humans and technology. Seeing robots as partners is a significant expression of that blurry line. It paves the way for robots to function as replacements for real human beings.

The convergence of articulated mechanical hands and feet, affectionate robots ( see scan hit on The World’s First Affectionate Robot), and predictive programming can become a major step towards creating human like androids.

Could these androids and our dependency on them eventually replace people who have traditionally functioned as PSWs, EMTs, nanny’s, and babysitters? Could predictive programming potentially diminish our capacity to think for ourselves?

“Things begin to get complicated when robots go beyond basic manual, bureaucratic, and cognitive labor and become tools for us to outsource intimate experiences and functions to. Part of Jibo’s appeal is that it will let you to stop thinking. That is a disconcerting change, one which over time, can profoundly impact who we are.”

-Evan Selinger, WIRED


Robot Servants Are Going to Make Your Life Easy. Then They’ll Ruin It

2 thoughts on “The World’s First Family Robot

  1. alex

    Thanks, Nic.
    Are you finding that younger students who grew up using calculators are less able to do the times tables than older generations who had to memorize them? I wonder if we could extrapolate from that to the kind of future you suggest.

  2. Nic Nelson

    “Could predictive programming potentially diminish our capacity to think for ourselves?”
    Not at all, unless Jibo and its descendants are pushy and overbearing! My best thinking is often done in conversation, and even if Jibo doesn’t contribute as much to the thought process as a human peer might, simply being able to spar with open-ended questions and appropriate conversation prompts would help me maximize my capacity to “think for myself.”

    To be any help in this regard it must of course pass the Turing Test. If it starts to sound like a phone tree (a “robotic” call center) I’ll shut the pesky thing off. I already have Siri in my pocket if I have a specific question.

    If the next-generation Jibo combines this “predictive programming” with the “empathy engine” mentioned elsewhere here… ah, then things get really interesting. And Jibo & its kin will become exponentially more helpful… and even better at stimulating, not suffocating, the thinking of the humans who interact with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *