“He was not no machine!” screamed Gloria, fiercely and ungrammatically. “He was a person just like you and me and he was my friend. I want him back. Oh, Mamma, I want him back.” – Isaac Asimov, I, Robot, “Robbie”
Both Rosie and R.U.D.I. were practically part of the family, becoming faithful companions to the quirky, but loving Jetsons. They weren’t merely “nasty old machines,” as Mrs. Weston exclaims in Asimov’s robot tales, but equally respected loved ones. Thanks to Prof. Cynthia Breazeal, a roboticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she has now successfully designed the first ever family-friendly robotic companion for everyone to love and enjoy – Jibo!
“Jibo fits in like family. Jibo is part of the family. Jibo’s warm. Jibo’s friendly. Jibo knows me and responds to me. So people will really resonate with the fact that it’s a family robot.” – Cynthia Breazeal, MIT
Its tracking system is made up of two high-res cameras, allowing it to track you in real-time, and even provide unique methods of photo capturing and video calling when asked. Jibo is able to understand you through its natural language processing, which is complimented by 360 degree microphones. Most importantly, however, is that its artificial intelligence is adaptable, meaning what it learns via its daily interactions with you and the family, Jibo won’t forget.
Like Rosie and R.U.D.I. from The Jetsons, Jibo will make quite a social impact on the family dynamic. As our relationship builds and becomes stronger over time with our robotic companions, we may even soon witness a movement of people – of families – demanding legal protections of said companions. Jibo is merely the beginning, however, and soon enough they’ll be walking side by side with us, living as we live.
“We are already disposed towards forming unidirectional emotional relationships with the robotic companions available to us today, and we can only imagine what the technological developments of the next decade will be able to effect.” – Kate Darling, PhD., MIT Robot Ethicist
Photo Credit: Jibo