There's no shame greater shame than that of wasted potential, and this applies to both human and robot alike.
WHAT IS IT?
Jibo Social Robot
WHAT DOES IT DO?
That’s a good question...
WHAT'S THE DAMAGE TO MY WALLET?
DO I REALLY NEED IT?
My heart says yes, but my mind says no.
Ahh Kickstarter. Where trees of great ideas attempt to beard fruit, but sadly often that fruit is bitter, unripe, and plucked from the vine too soon.
When it was first announced, Jibo was poised to be a winner in my mind, but in this market of smart devices and digital personal assistance, it barely covers the basics. Can Jibo play music upon request? No. Can Jibo answer trivial questions? No. The HAL-9000 was also just a big eye, but at least he made up for his shortcomings with singing talent and moxy!
Jibo isn’t short on charm, thanks to its superb form factor. Its very shape oozes with personality, in the form of the previously mentioned enormous digital eye. Some folk are worried about how Jibo may violate their privacy and the prospects of the face-following camera, but I’m a black man in America. If The Man wants to keep tabs on me, history has shown that he’s never bothered to ask. Besides, if you peer into my office, all you’ll be treated to are movie posters and whatever action figure is on display for the month. Better luck next time, Big Brother!
Jibo can dance, yet he cannot play from music from a library or streaming services. I have no doubts that acquiring the rights to tap into such services is no minor hurdle, but there is a baseline all modern digital assistants must meet, and unfortunately Jibo fails to meet most of them. Perhaps when developers set-out, they had hopes to partner with or be bought outright by the likes of Google or Amazon. I have no proof of any such ulterior motive, but Jibo did begin as a Kickstart, so…. Nevertheless, I mourn what could have been, for if the various parties were to have engrained the capabilities of Alexa into Jibo’s shell, you would have a desktop companion I could call “brother.”