JIBO is a project aimed at building the world’s first family robot. It was first designed by Cynthia Breazeal, the director of the personal robotics group at the MIT Media Lab. She is now the CEO and chief scientist at Jibo. 

The goal of the Jibo project was to create the world’s first “family robot.” Cynthia explained that her goal with creating Jibo was less about designing a robot that could perform a specific function but rather about developing a robot that can form a relationship with a family.

Cynthia believes people must feel an emotional bond with their robot. Interestingly enough, in all of her Jibo speeches, she avoids using the word “emotional” to describe Jibo and uses, “socio-emotive artificial intelligence” instead. Her reasoning is that Jibo’s performance is less about the robot’s ability to express emotions and more about its ability to read and respond to social cues. She believes it’s best that robots never try to fake emotions.

Breazeal expects us to see a robot revolution in the near future. A number of variables will affect when this can occur. Factors include the speeds at which computing power improves, the rate at which complex artificial intelligence is developed, and the challenge of lowering the cost. She states that “robots will never find a place in our homes until they become more affordable”.

With an expected price tag of just a few hundred dollars perhaps Jibo can help change that.

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