As I mentioned in a previous article, I'm not a fan of smart speakers like Alexa, Google Home, or Facebook Portal but, Aibo is interesting to me!!! If I'm going to let GAFA into my home on a full-time basis this would be their way in!!
While out exploring Tokyo over the weekend, I passed by a Sony Pop-up called the WOW Studio. As I walked towards the display, I wasn’t quite sure what the little kids were knelt down playing with. Turns out, there was an interactive puppy pin
After waiting my turn to play with one, I was impressed. Although I only spent a few minutes interacting with Aibo it’s very puppy like! They bark, "fetch", roll over, shake hands, play dead and can make a variety of other dog like gestures. I actually thing Sony has something big on their hands with this project! Is Aibo perfect? By no means but it's a cool little always on always connected home device that you could easily become enamored with. Unlike a smart speaker or the voice assistant you occasionally talk to on your phone, Aibo has a personality of its own and its physical presence makes interacting with it natural.
Based on the updates between the generation 1 Aibo and the current iteration, future editions will become a viable option for people who want a dog but don’t have the time, space or patience involved with dog ownership. Once the Aibo platform can fetch things other than its accompanying ball and bone and can be taken out for a walk or a quick jog around a park, Sony might just have an iPhone level personal device on their hands.
A robotic dog is the perfect Segway to the "robot" personal assistant. Our overall expectation of dogs is actually pretty low! As long as a dog learns how to do it’s business outside, not eat your shoes, can act civil around company and can follow basic commands you're a happy dog owner! This level of satisfaction is a pretty low barrier of entry for a piece of tech. As soon as I saw one of these in person my mind started to churn! Robotic companions will likely be the next wave of must have technology! There is a lot of potential for something like this and it could fit into a variety of context for personal and professional use.
From a personal perspective, imagine having a robotic assistant that has the familiarity of a dog but can provide helpful assistance. Maybe it can walk your kids to & from the bus stop or school, do light weight clean up duties around the house like picking up toys, making sure dirty clothes wind up in the hamper and putting things back where they belong (the remote, empty coffee cups, glasses or used plates sitting on the coffee table). Future iterations could become companions for the elderly, serve as watch dogs for your home while you’re away, help you get ready to leave the house in the morning. Imagine saying "Aibo, grab by brief case and keys and put them by the front door or in the car“ and it being able to handle the task without any additional instruction or assistance. How about telling Aibo via voice or by app to check to see if you left the iron on, to receive a package from Amazon, or to keep an eye on a repair person while you're not at home. This device would be best of both worlds! Not only would it have the familiarity of a dog it would be useful!
While I’m pontificating on potential uses for robotic pets, a pet singularity would most definitely occur prior to the human version, Right? Not familiar with the singularity theory take a few to google it! It’s coming so might as well learn about it now! So, instead of your dog dying, you could opt to have Fido’s consciousness implanted into an avatar. Then you get the best of Fido with the added functionality of the assistant! Wow, this could be interesting!