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article imageVideo: Meet Jibo, called the 'First Family Robot'

By Walter McDaniel     Jul 16, 2014 in Technology
An Indiegogo campaign for a small robot meant to help your family called Jibo was recently launched. The idea is to have a small helper robot that can tell stories, take messages and even order food.
At the moment we only have the word of those running the project that Jibo will be running without any problems. The question is whether this is viable. Let us explore the hard evidence for each point they claim Jibo will be able to handle.
Responding to and learning about family members - Scientists are currently trying to help robots learn about people in a variety of projects. The answer here is that while they have some basic learning abilities we're quite a bit away from having them understand us. It's the same concept that applies to TiVo learning. Machines can get the basic premise but rarely get the deeper meaning.
Recording and Playing Back Media - This is the easiest section to handle. Gathering and distributing media is something computers have been able to do for many years. We now even have ones such as Honda's Asimo that can challenge people to a game. It should be no large task for this robot to take a few pictures, tell a few stories and talk to you.
Connecting to your Home - We have had remote light switches and dimmers for years. It's completely possible to have it do this. The only question is whether there will be any bugs that cut parts of the house on or off at inconvenient times.
Relating to you on a Social Level - This will be by far the hardest problem to solve. There are reports that the computer Eugene passed the Turing test separating robots and humanity. This has been debated quite a bit. The developers have stated he will express things to you in a social manner but will not necessarily learn to act like a human.
The Staff Involved - It is being created by the workers at Monsoon. They've previously done work with mobile devices so this gives them some credibility there. Jibo will not have the ability to move anything other than the head section so robotics knowledge is not as crucial to the project.
The campaign itself has already demolished funding goals. As always you should look at the evidence for yourself and decide whether this project can become a part of your "family".
More about Robotics, Technology, Storytelling, Families
 
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