Have you heard about Jibo? It’s a “social robot” that is being called a companion or personal assistant. The company has reportedly already raised more than $3.7 million on Indiegogo, and it’s currently sold out. There’s a video that better explains about Jibo.
My very first reaction was thinking about how cute it was. My second was wondering why we need to have a robot as a companion or assistant. Then I decided to learn more about Jibo, so I watched the video.
Then I thought maybe it’s not such a bad idea! I mean, it seems to be the trend – machines/computers are already replacing so many things in our lives. We use computers, tablets, personal organizers, and other gadgets that help us keep in touch with others, and stay more organized. Whether we like it or not, many people could use some help, and a robot might be the answer.
Here are some of the top reasons Jibo might really be a great idea:
1 – Some people could use the company. I don’t like that many people are alone or at least feel alone. Countless people rely on the ‘company’ of online strangers, or pets. Robots don’t have the potential to betray us, abandon us, or even need medical care. Also, they can be kept in places that pets aren’t allowed, such as hospitals or some rental places.
2 – Most people could use the help (like in the video, when you see Jibo turn on the lights when the guy carries multiple packages into a dark room). Most of us are too busy to have enough time to get everything done, much less have “free time”.
3 – Jibo could be a watchful eye for people who are frail or elderly. People who live alone, especially the elderly or infirm, could really use a robot like Jibo. Imagine if someone fell and got hurt, and maybe couldn’t get to their phone to call someone for assistance. I’ve heard stories of people who had medical emergencies and were unable to get help. Jibo could allow people to retain more of their independence and dignity as they age or suffer from physical problems.
4 – Jibo could help monitor babies, just like a baby monitor. Jibo could even alert parents if there is a problem.
5 – Jibo could offer protection in emergency situations, and wouldn’t have to worry about emotion (especially fear) interfering with getting help. Or if there was some sort of break-in, Jibo could contact the police without worrying about any threats that might be given on the part of the intruder. I’m sure Jibo could even be programmed like a silent alarm like they have in banks. If someone broke in, Jibo could notify the police on his own, and the intruder would have no idea until the police showed up.
6 – Jibo could help those who feel depressed or sad. Who knows – maybe someone who is depressed could be helped emotionally by having Jibo as company, and that could potentially prevent suicide attempts, or allow someone to safely decrease medications. Jibo is non-judgmental, and always available. Jibo might also be programmable to pick up on certain words or phrases, and alert friends or family members if the person talking to Jibo might be in danger.
7 – The new selfie machine. It’s possible to take pictures of yourself alone or in groups of people. Finally the family shutter bug can start showing up in family photos!
8 – Jibo could replace or at least supplement home security systems in case of fire, or even power outages, and could alert the fire station or electric company.
These are just some of the reasons Jibo is a great idea. I’m sure there are many other uses for Jibo – even ones that aren’t covered in the video!
The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Like I said, we’re already using electronic devices to organize and stay in touch. We use them to do work for us – research and data processing, for example. Computers have gotten smaller and more portable, and people even have their smart phones or other mobile devices that they take everywhere with them. Many people talk to and rely on Siri for information and getting answers to questions. Many people have GPS, home security systems, ‘nanny cams’, GoPro, and other devices. Computers have replaced the old card catalogs in libraries. Video streaming has replaced DVDs and VHS, and can be accessed from just about anywhere. People skype when they are in different areas. People have even attended weddings through video conferences. Jibo seems like the next logical step! Plus, it’s cute and seems alive!
Photo Credits: Jibo