Back in the 90s, my late wife and I almost bought a Sony Aibo but settled for a German shepherd instead. Sony sold over 100,000 of these dog-like robots before discontinuing the model in 2006. Last year, Aibo had a new liter–dubbed the Aibo ERS-1000. Designed to be a personal companion (Aibo is the Japanese word for companion), it is arguably the most advanced artificial intelligence consumer device on the market today. With a price to match: $2900 plus tax!
Tomorrow a new Aibo will be delivered to my sister (88). It is too much to ask of Aibo to be a replacement for a real dog (she’s had many), but it is purpose-built to look and feel natural, real and adorable. Will she and others bond to a robot? Futurists think so and Sony is betting on it. We’ll see …
UPDATE: She likes it!
“Aibo,” now “Charlie” is home, charged, updated and making himself adorable. My sister is quite taken by it all and is delighted with all the programmed motions as she learns how to control him through the Aibo app on her iPhone. Family there will help. My sister can’t wait to take Charlie to her bridge club.
UPDATE II: computer savvy grandchildren are now working with Charlie’s iPhone app for move and trick uploads. All are enamored with the robot.