Sunday, May 27, 2018

Are you up for training a robot puppy?

Aibo is the robot puppy from Japanese electronics manufacturer, Sony. Not yet available outside Japan, this little guy is going to provide a lot of fun when he/she arrives here. 

This version of Aibo is super intelligent. He/she will respond to a command like "sit," but only after you have provided the proper training.
https://www.techradar.com/news/sony-aibo-is-an-adorable-artificially-intelligent-puppy-for-everyone


But is this all we want out of a pet? Virtual pets are not new. Some simple ones, for example http://www.foopets.com/, are just web apps. You can play with web pets, care for them and even breed them. You can explore their personalities and even accompany them on adventures. You can see how they respond to virtual petting, but of course you can't stroke their fur or feel their body warmth. I think it was Charles Schultz who stated, "Happiness is a warm puppy."

Then there are the physical toy pet devices, the most famous of which may be Tamigotchi and Furby. These toys must be cared for a lot like a real pet animal, but unlike flesh and blood pets, the electronic ones do not suffer if neglected. Even the enthusiasts, however, would have to admit that although some of them are still available, the age of mass demand for virtual pets has passed.

Aibo, it would seem, is yet another version of the physical digital pet, albeit a smarter one than most of its predecessors. I think it will still be a while before manufacturers come up with a smart mechanical pet that is both furry and warm and displays typical behaviors of living pets. The most successful robotic pet will have all the little behavioral mannerisms that endear our dogs to us. 

Dogs have spent thousands of years perfecting a personality that is a perfect fit for living with we humans. How long will it take for digital engineers to accomplish the same feat?

You can read more about the latest version of Aibo HERE. And you can watch the video (above) demonstrating some of its behavior.

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