Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
Just imagine that you have a four year-old child who has grown up talking with your Jibo robot, and then this happens:
Jibo was a "social robot" startup that burned through $76m in venture capital and crowdfunding before having its assets sold to SQN Venture Partners late last year.
Earlier this week, reporter Dylan J Martin tweeted a video of a $899 Jibo robot bidding its owner farewell, announcing that the new owners of his servers were planning to killswitch it; the robot thanked him "very very much" for having it around, and asked that "someday, when robots are more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said 'hello.'"
Then, the Jibo performed a melancholy dance.
The idea of being able to turn off a robot or android remotely has been kicked around by science fiction writers for generations. For example, see this proposal by Philip K. Dick in his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?:
"In my purse," she said, " I have a mechanism which our autofac on Mars builds as an... emergency safety... while they're putting a newly made andy through its routine inspection checks. Get it out. It resembles an oyster....
"Is this it?" He held up a metallic sphere with a button-stem projecting.
"That cancels an android into catalepsy," Rachel said, eyes shut. "For a few seconds.
(Read more about the android safety mechanism)
Be sure to take a look at Google Working On A 'Cutoff Switch' For AI for more science-fictional ideas for "kill switches".
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/21/2019)
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