Is JIBO, The First Real Life Family Robot To Be Trusted?

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robot straight out of the movies
robot straight out of the movies

You’ve probably seen the video – it’s been around for well over a year.  It shows a prototype of a small lamp-like device that is, in fact, actually a robot straight out of the movies.

JIBO has been touted as life changing for families, however after a few views of the initial “trailer” for the robot, many began to question the benefit of having a giant camera following you around your home, recording your every desire, every move, and telling you what to do at every moment.

Would you trust such a sophisticated device to “live” in your home with your family and/or children?  Do you feel that it is a positive step in technological progression or do you feel that it is a playfully disguised spy device that could be used for some not so savory intentions if placed into the wrong hands?

Writer  Mark DeNicola set out to answer those questions, and in his report, this is what he discovered:

I will admit that, while growing up, the idea of having a family robot sounded like a pretty awesome idea – thanks in large part to how handy it seemed for The Jetsons to have Rosie around. Yet that perspective has changed over the years due to reading books like 1984, watching movies like I, Robot, and most prominently, by becoming aware of groups such as the NSA.

Between our phones, computers, gaming systems, and tablets, it already seems like we have ceded our right to privacy; too much of who we are, what we are doing, what we like and don’t like, and so much more is readily available for anyone to access. Yet we appear to be on the verge of taking artificial intelligence to a whole other level.

Introducing JIBO, the world’s first family robot, which through crowd-funding raised over $2.2 million, all in support of bringing the robot to market. Rather than try to explain the robot’s functionality myself, here is the short video they put together which was featured within the fundraising campaign: *(EDITOR’S NOTE, THE VIDEO CAN BE FOUND ABOVE THE ARTICLE)

Since being released, JIBO has received a ton of praise from major platforms such as CNN, The Wallstreet Journal, Yahoo News, The New York Times, WIRED and even Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff who stated:

“JIBO isn’t an appliance, it’s a companion, one that can interact and react with its human owners in ways that delight instead of disturb.”
The hype is real, and thanks to a very successful crowd-funding campaign it seems that JIBO is soon bound to become a real fixture in many households worldwide. Given this inevitable reality, let’s take a look at both perspectives to the intelligent family robot:

JIBO’s Potential Pros

Much like Siri, the voice response application that has many of us regularly talking to our electronics, JIBO does come with the potential to be convenient. Whether it be to deliver reminders, keep us on schedule, or complete tasks for us, JIBO, to many, can come in handy amidst our busy lives.

Living in a world where loneliness and depression seem to be experienced by nearly everyone, JIBO does also carry the potential to be a companion (albeit artificial) to help us overcome this widespread challenge.

JIBO’s Potential Cons

As with many other electronics, JIBO seems destined to become another potential tool to track, get to know, and possibly even spy on us (a reality of which many are still not convinced – find out more here and here).

Although JIBO seems connective by design, it also has the potential to make us even more disconnected as it strengthens our dependence on technology rather than each other. Users would have to make a conscious effort to avoid having JIBO replace things such as their need for human interaction, the time they would spend connecting with their children, and their mental strength in being responsible for themselves.

What Is Your Stance On JIBO?

Given the video and the short list of potential pros and cons, what are your thoughts on both JIBO specifically and the idea of an intelligent family robot? Cost aside (JIBO pre-orders ranged from $600-$700 US depending on the bot selected), would you trust making JIBO a part of your family? If so, why? And if not, why not? Let us know via the comment section below.

Royce Christyn
About Royce Christyn 3440 Articles
Documentarian, Writer, Producer, Director, Author.