Will Poopless Dogs Replace The Real Thing?

Singularity is getting closer every day. But do we really need all of this new artificial intelligence [AI] ? For instance, would dog lovers world-wide prefer robot dogs . .  over say, their rescue labradoodle?

If you're in favor of adding an AI pooch to your family, there are some advantages.  For instance, you might find it appealing to have a dog that doesn’t poop — one you wouldn't have to clean up after. And as heartless, as it may sound, robotic pups can live a lot longer than the real thing (if not forever) — albeit, they may need frequent electrical charges.

I touched on some of these considerations in my recent post, titled: “Should Robots Awarded Citizenship Be Considered Pets?” But today, it’s time to drill down a little deeper — particularly in light  of a new dog robot called “Aibo” launched, this week at CES 2018 in Las Vegas by Sony.


Aibo Evolved

Sony is rolling back the years with their updated robotic creature. It’s actually the resurrection of a robotic dog line that was one of its most iconic brands during their ‘90s and 2000s heyday.

However, this revamped version of the robot dog has evolved. It has experienced a number of upgrades including it “OLED eyes” which makes it express more nuanced expressions, plus several other features.

The Features

Aibo has touch sensors affixed to its head, chin, and back so you can pet it and have it respond realistically to your touch. It also reacts to voice, and has been equipped with 22 actuators that enable it to exhibit more realistic movements than previous iterations.

The  camera on its nose recognizes family members and searches for bones — which are aptly called “Aibones.” The camera situated on its back helps it navigate to its charging station like a Roomba. One of its downsides, Aibo gets two hours of playtime and takes three hours to charge. For pet owners making a decision between the real or the automated, this factor might be a deal-breaker. Yes, real dogs sleep, but in most cases, they're not dormant for this many hours per day.

Dog Tricks

Who doesn’t want their dogs to do tricks? Well Aibo has been programmed to fulfill that need.

It can perform fun tricks like fetching a ball or bone, laying down, playing dead or giving a high-five. As far as the languages it will respond to, Aibo understands English and Japanese — but according to Sony, more languages will be programmed in the very near future.

How Much?

The new Aibo went on sale January 11th, 2018.

Unfortunately, there aren't any plans yet to release it outside of Sony's homeland. But if you will be traveling to Japan any time soon, you can purchase one for 198,000 yen, or approximately $1,700 — in addition, to a monthly subscription for the upgrades.

Today's final Woof on the topic . . .

Yes, on the literal heels of Aibo, singularity is getting closer every day.

For instance, think about this: with more and more of these robot dogs entering the market, might their growing population one day become so great in number, they might find a way to communicate with each other and take over the world? Just saying.

Primary Source: Sony’s Iconic Robotic Dog