Whether your think artificial intelligence is fact or fiction, the beginning of a brave new world or the end of this one, for many of Japan’s robot dog owners, doomsday has already come in the form of the end of the production of their really remarkable canine companions. Here’s the lowdown from RT Daily News…
AIBO pet dogs are the world’s first home entertainment robots with artificial intelligence (AI). They can speak, sense, and express their feelings – which encourages many owners to treat the toys as real family members. The gadgets are even known for developing their own unique personalities.
Many who bought the dog robots now feel abandoned by Sony, which canceled the production of AIBOs in 2006. The last tech clinic for the toys was closed in March 2014, creating a massive shortage of spare parts.
Sony sold more than 150,000 units between 1999 – when they were created – and 2006. Each one cost 250,000 yen (over $2,000).
One of the owners, Mori, had her AIBO for eight years. “I never thought there was a limit to his life,” she told AFP. When her faithful friend broke, Sony referred her to a company called A FUN, which specializes in fixing the robots.
One of the workers at the company said that clients refer to him as a ‘doctor,’ not as an engineer. “The word ‘repair’ doesn’t fit here,” Hiroshi Funabashi said. “For those who keep AIBOs, they are nothing like home appliances. It’s obvious they think their (robotic pet) is a family member.”
But with a shortage of spare parts, the dogs are becoming more difficult to repair. In fact, the situation is starting to resemble the concerns of the popular cartoon WALL-E, which raises the issue of souls and the human treatment of machines equipped with AI.
However, many scientists have expressed the view that further development of AI could spell out doomsday for the human race.
Click the article link above to read more. Here’s a cool video showing the AIBO in action. Could you become emotionally attached to a digital dog? Is this robotic rover the messenger of a coming doomsday? Does the world end with a bang or with a bark?