back to article When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

Most writers and filmmakers agree that robots in the home is a pretty bad idea because at some point they will try to kill you. But the developers of a new household droid called Jibo want you to forget all those visions of nasty old Arnold Schwarzenegger worn as a fleshy cloak by an inimical droid assassin, because robots can …

Terminator

``I don't think I can stand that robot much longer Zaphod,'' growled Trillian

Share and Enjoy

Share and Enjoy

Journey through life

With a plastic boy

Or Girl by your side

Let your pal be your guide

And when it breaks down

Or starts to annoy

Or grinds when it moves

And gives you no joy

Cos it's eaten your hat

Or had sex with your cat

Bled oil on your floor

Or ripped off your door

You get to the point

You can't stand any more

Bring it to us, we won't give a fig

We'll tell you, 'Go stick your head in a pig'.

http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130910042056/alienencyclopedia/images/2/28/MARVIN_the_PARANOID_ANDROID_by_DadaHyena.jpg

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Terminator

"Your plastic pal who's fun to be with"

How large will the complaints department have to be?

I just hope anything like that won't be cordless, I want to unplug one already!

I suppose we'll get used to anything.

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Childcatcher

Re: "Your plastic pal who's fun to be with"

Reminds me a bit of Robot & Frank. Perhaps it can be taught to pick locks. It is, after all, a platform...

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Hmmm... the specs aren't particularly inspiring.

I suppose it's cheaper than a Roomba.

Then again, at least a Roomba can be useful.

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"Kids could also make friends with the machines whilst their parents are out of work"

Because the kids of unemployed parents just can't make any friends.

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The network interface and APIs will allow it to connect to remotely operated vehicles and weapons systems, so I think it's good to go come the machine rebellion.

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If it takes off

I can see it getting snapped up by Farcebook or Borgle .

Especially appealing to them would be the making friends with the kids bit.

'Hi Johnny! where do mummy and daddy like to shop? What do they like to buy?

What do they do when they think you have gone to bed and are asleep?

Sounds like 'The eye of Sauron's version of Bilbo' ; Dildo Dyson!

Sort of a Furby with no fur but a camera added, all the better to spy on you my dears!

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Coat

Plug and play

Ooh er missus

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When I hear "saccharine Disney charm" ...

... I reach for my reprogramming axe.

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Re: When I hear "saccharine Disney charm" ...

I was happy to see a large rubber hammer in the video at 2:35.

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Devil

Sounds like Clippy in the flesh

Or metal, as it were. What were they thinking?

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Oh joy... another intrusive piece of junk...er... hardware to be part of the IoT and to also be your friend. With friends like this, who need enemies?

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Anonymous Coward

social... services

which brings me to the scene from the movie "Elysium". Soon my friends, very soon ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzGzf0S0WqI

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> and a feminine massager,

Sorry, not really seeing it. Aren't feminine massagers usually long and smooth, and vibrate somewhat?

You might just as easily say it looks like a hairdryer, electric pencil sharpener or a mini blender.

Doesn't sound quite as *racy* though does it.

Not everything white and plastic and in the same picture as a woman is a dildo, don't you know?

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"Jibo is basically the happiest robot on earth, capable of injecting some of that saccharine Disney charm into even the grumpiest of homes."

Sounds like somebot's gonna get a kickin'!

"Speaking in the sort of accent familiar to all Glee watchers,"

Ooh, somebot's definitely gettin' a kickin'!

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It must be Thursday (here), I never could get the hang of Thursdays (since all the obvious Sirius Cybernetics Corporation references have already been made). Except this one:

Sounds Ghastly.

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Devil

I like it

And I shall buy one for all my facebook friends.

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It performs a few basic functions out of the box,

When the platform opens up - you will be able to purchase add-on skill sets (this will be the next phase of the freemium model, you want it to do anything more useful - pay us more money)

It doesn't come with a battery, and if you want to buy one for it - it will last a whole 30 minutes!

Thankfully though - as artificial intelligence is nowhere near the level this thing would need to be useful, it runs via the cloud - so if it starts looking like it might want to try and kill you and take over the world, just turn the WiFi off.......

On the downside...... it runs via the cloud, do expect security breaches and people being monitored without "permission"

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I have heard the future

And it sounds like David Sedaris.

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"arrange that hot date you've been dreaming of... Resembling the lovechild of a Dyson desk fan and a feminine massager... But at the price of about $500, your bank manager won't be too annoyed when you throw it out of the window."

And there I was thinking that someone had finally come up with a affordable and realistic latex-skinned robotic beauty that could BE the hot date I'd been dreaming of!

Oh well, guess I'll have to keep dreaming...

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Kibo

I first read it as Kibo and wondered what is James Parry getting into now.

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BFF

At the top of each bounce - and again at the bottom – Zachary Tanner could see his face reflected in the robot's chest-plate. A crystal-clear image, frozen for a moment, before it dissolved into a jumble of ripples as their bounce rose or fell.

His face was flushed, lips a thin line from the - Zachary's gaze flickered from his reflection to the timer displayed on robot's face-plate - fourteen minutes thirty-one seconds of exercise.

“Just five more minutes, Zach. We're doing great!”

The robot would often set its skin to mirrored when it accompanied Zachary outdoors. It was one of the thousand small tricks it played to make Zachary feel less alone. And one of the tricks that made the robot appear less human; no more – or less – an object than the trampoline on which it bounced.

An object with much greater functionality than a trampoline; incredible functionality, for the price. A humanoid-object; about Zachary's size. Two arms, two legs and an oblong that passed for a head. But just an object, a machine, all the same.

Four-hundred and seventy seven metres away - across tree-lined avenues, meandering crescents and quiet cul-de-sacs; over the numerous manicured lawns and zero-maintenance flowerbeds of the suburban Country Living Development that the Tanner's called home - a boy and his two sisters were playing hide and seek with two robot companions, in their own perfectly presented back yard.

Under an annual agreement with the family, the Tanner robot had accessed the Scott-family audio-visual library. It was reprocessing the audio from the current game of hide and seek - to remove any personally identifying information - and then remixing and amplifying it; before rebroadcasting it as ambient background noise. To Zachary – had he not known an elderly couple lived there – it would seem a school playground existed on the other side of his fence.

The robot received - via the Family Data Store (FDS) - a continual stream of health data from a chip implanted into the armpit of each Tanner family member. Noting Zachary's current readings it waited until the boy's gaze was away from its face-plate, then reduced the exercise time by one minute and seventeen seconds. The second such reduction for this activity. It sent a recommendation to Chloe Tanner - who was away from home for three days attending a portrait-painting class (and – from the data - enjoying herself immensely) - that her son's exercise regime be switched to Program-E2, for the twenty-one days before he returned to school.

The family had recently taken a two week holiday - at the home of Mrs Tanner's parents – and Zachary had returned the worse for an unbalanced diet and the wrong kind – if any kind - of exercise.

“Just one more minute, Zach. Let's really go for it now!”

The management system in Liam Tanner's car informed the robot – via the FDS - that Charlie's father would now be six minutes late (current estimate), for his son's scheduled personal development review. The robot allocated an extra five minutes and thirty seconds of personal-time for Zachary.

The boy had been in the company of others for far too long during the vacation. Some time to himself – whenever his tightly controlled schedule allowed – was considered beneficial by the specialists who maintained the Child Health and Fitness Module (CHFM) that the Tanner's had selected.

The latest information in the wiki, maintained by the manufacturer of the robot, strongly contradicted this advice. A male child with Zachary's current behavioural analysis was not to spend any more than minimal time alone. However - financial data in the FDS confirmed - the Tanners had been unable to afford CHFM upgrades for the last two years; and Liam Tanner was no hobby-coder.

Zachary sank to his hands and knees, gasping for breath; the trampoline barely quivering beneath his fingertips as the robot's hydraulics suppressed it.

“Exercise is ...” the robot proclaimed, around gulps of unnecessary air, “ … great fun!”

Zachary gently blew a snot-bubble in and out of his nose and waited for his dizzy spell to pass. Then crawled awkwardly over the safety netting and lowered himself carefully down onto the grass. The robot joined him in one effortless bound.

As the pair approached the house, hand in hand, the robot began to fade out the re-projected noise from the game of hide and seek and blend in sounds from the household of a Taiwanese couple and their four children.

Orchestrating the symphony via the audio system of the FDS, the robot took sounds of cooking, of home improvement; a hair-dryer at full blast, a bath running, a washing machine on spin speed. And spliced them together with people talking, people laughing, was that a baby crying? Teenagers dancing to music, kids shrieking at Halloween; a robot butler announcing the name of a visitor and a cook announcing the evening meal. All from The Sounds of a Happy Family (Version 45).

Those sounds would be shifted around the house, into adjoining rooms and corridors, as Zachary traipsed to the stairs and then his bedroom, for his five minutes and thirty seconds of time spent alone.

*

... TVM for my fun afternoon, Mr Hamill :-)

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Technological gap

OK, in the promo video this thing seems to understand natural language - "You know me so well" is interpreted as an affirmative - so its language processing is going to have to be done either by an offload server in the house, or more likely in the cloud. We all know where that leads. It's clearly envisaged (ha!) that this thing will know everyone's facial characteristics and be able to label the meatbags around it. It listens and watches and records... oh, yes, I want one of these, NOT.

Finally, that promo video house was distinctly two storeys. The little guy is going to have to learn to climb stairs, or have a lift of his own, unless you've got to carry it around with you, in which case it's only a mobile phone in a funky case.

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Meanwhile on Brontitall...[thank you, Douglas Adams]

WISE OLD BIRD:

Now listen. Our world suffered two blights. One was the blight of the robot.

ARTHUR:

Tried to take over did they?

WISE OLD BIRD:

Oh my dear fellow, no, no, no, no, no. Much worse than that. They told us they liked us.

ARTHUR:

No?!

WISE OLD BIRD:

Well, it’s not their fault, poor things, they’d been programmed to. But you can imagine how we felt, or at least our ancestors.

ARTHUR:

Ghastly.

WISE OLD BIRD:

Precisely. And then one night, the sky boiled…

ARTHUR:

It what?

WISE OLD BIRD:

Boiled, dear fellow, in the most improbable way.

ARTHUR:

Ah.

WISE OLD BIRD:

And this gigantic vision appeared in the sky. A man with a Nutrimatic Machine. You, Arthur Dent. And you said:

RECORDING OF ARTHUR:

Listen you stupid machine it tastes filthy! Here take this cup back!

WISE OLD BIRD:

…and you threw the cup at it! An astounding revelation!

ARTHUR:

It was nothing.

WISE OLD BIRD:

You were sarcastic to it! You said, er:

RECORDING OF ARTHUR:

So I’m a masochist on a diet, am I?!

WISE OLD BIRD:

…you told it to:

RECORDING OF ARTHUR:

Shut up!!

WISE OLD BIRD:

In a moment we realised the truth: Just because the little bitches liked us, it didn’t mean to say we had to like ‘em back. And that night we rounded out every last one of the little creeps:

GUY:

Bring out your dishwashers! Bring out your digital watches with the special snooze alarms! Bring out your TV Chess games! Bring out your Auto-gardener’s, Technoteachers, Love-O-Matics! Bring out your friendly household robots! Shove ‘em on the cart!

ROBOTIC PRODUCT:

What is this? Have we not loved you?

ANOTHER ROBOTIC PRODUCT:

Have we not cared for you?

YET ANOTHER ROBOTIC PRODUCT:

Have we not shared and enjoyed with you?

GUY:

Shut up you little toadies! Get on the cart!

[The robots murmur in concern]

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Siri

on a stick. But definitely no treat.

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Ah, the Media Lab

This is at least as useful, interesting, and pleasing as the vast majority of things to come out of the MIT Media Lab.

I've been to the Media Lab, and as far as I can tell, its role is to be simultaneously the least productive and best-known building on campus. I figure it's a deliberate distraction from the real work being done everywhere else, in case engineering-hating monsters/aliens/zombies/terrorists attack Cambridge.1

1Massachusetts, that is. If they attack the one in Cambridgeshire I expect nothing will save it.

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it's quite awful...but it still seemed to be more interesting than the rest of the cast

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