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Meet Jibo, a new robotic companion to constantly monitor your family and control your environment


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(NaturalNews) Like it or not, the age of robotics is dawning, and while some may hail this development as eminently beneficial to mankind, others are warning that a robot-filled world is not necessarily in the best interests of the human race.

It's been years in the making, but the time has finally come: A new "family" robot is being produced and marketed as the ultimate companion, even though its technology gives it the ability to monitor everything in your household and, at some point, provide the treasure trove of intimacy to some government agency or corporation -- or both.

The robot even has a name -- "Jibo" (jee-bo) -- and it can do a great many things, like talk to you, track your movements, engage in face and voice recognition, take photos and videos and even "educate" and "entertain" your children.

As reported by USA Today, the robot was not ready to debut at the recent annual SXSW (South by Southwest) event in Austin, which showcases technology, music, film and other cultural trends. But the robot's development is said to currently be in its final stages.

"Jibo is going through the commercialization process right now," said Cynthia Breazeal, an MIT professor and social robotics pioneer who is the driving force behind the 11-inch-tall robot. Breazeal also gave a robotics presentation at SXSW.

Jibo will be designed to "learn" you and your family

She is extremely committed to making Jibo the first humanized robotic member of American households, which she hopes to make an "engaging companion to teach first grade math to your kid, to remind grandma to take her medicine and to make sure you get the groceries you need," USA Today reported.

However, Jibo won't be a "slave-robot," Breazeal says -- meaning it won't be capable of running to the story for you, or perform your household chores. The paper noted:

What makes it different from, say, a Roomba or an entertainment-oriented toy robot is, in Breazeal's words, "this notion of platform, taking something from the playbook of the Android and iOS app ecosystems."

So, Breazeal is looking for developers to produce "skills" apps, as she has labeled them, for the robot. Oh, and there will even be a Jibo store.

The "family" robot really gained recognition over the summer of 2014 when the MIT prof founded a startup that raised $2.3 million via an Indiegogo campaign, which was far above her goal of $100,000. For anyone who pre-ordered a Jibo robot, they were offered a discounted price of $499; when the robot finally becomes available commercially to the general public, the price is likely to be about $100 higher. That could come as soon as mid-2016.

"It's very important for Jibo to have the right kind of personality that makes people really want to welcome and engage with this kind of technology," Breazeal told the paper.

USA Today and other media outlets are gushing over the new technology. USA Today, in particular, described Jibo thusly -- and without a hint of concern that the data gathered by Jibo could be badly misused by third parties:

Jibo promises a sense of humor. With built-in cameras, it can recognize you and learn from you over time. It might ask for your favorite color and factor that in when it presents information.

And Jibo is being designed to recognize critical cues, like whether you're smiling or not. It might use that to decide when to snap a picture of you or other family members.
[emphases added]

"You know me so well"

"There is learning, there is adaptation, there is personalization, there is perception, there is decision-making, there's communication and there's expression," Breazeal said.

Here is the creepy marketing video for Jibo:

As noted by The Vigilant Citizen, the implications of Jibo's data collection are nightmarish:

Since 2012, there's been a steady stream of revelations confirming that the NSA and other agencies actively collect information from every single connected device. How is Jibo not a treasure trove of next-level information ready to collected and exploited?

A compilation of the most creepy aspects of Jibo is available here.

Don't pre-order yours today.

(Photo credit: www.Jibo.com)




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