Sony revives Aibo robot dog after 11 years

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Sony revives Aibo robot dog after 11 years

The new Aibo is launched in Japan and is available to pre-order.

And it said that it was reviving its robot dog AIBO that first hit the shelves in the late 1990's. We'd wager that Aibo is able to learn commands a lot quicker than real dog.

The AI-enabled canine is another sign of Sony's willingness to take new risks.

Almost 20 years after the original was first introduced, Sony has resurrected the Aibo brand and developed a brand new robotic dog.

The biggest change is that the new iteration will be more intelligent and proactively interact with its owner. "I asked our engineers a year and a half ago to develop Aibo because I strongly believe robots capable of building loving relationships with people help realise Sony's mission (to inspire)". The technology is based on work done by Sony-backed Cogitai Inc., an Anaheim, California-based startup developing AI software that learns continually from real-world interactions.

Note that the name of the electronic pet is a combination of the concepts "friend" and "artificial intelligence", by combining which, the developers got the name of the robot-dog - Aibo. The word "aibo" means companion, or buddy, in Japanese. It could bark, sit up, lie down, wag its tail and play with toy balls.

A SIM card connection provides aibo with mobile Internet access, which Sony plans to extend to connect to home appliances and devices. But there were other, much cheaper pups entering the market that forced Sony to end Aibo production in 2006. It's no coincidence that the gadget debuted on 1 November and ships from 11 January, because "1-1-1" sounds the same as the Japanese expression for a dog's bark: "wan-wan-wan".

Sony said it aims to sell at least as many new Aibo as the original, without giving a timeframe, and that it sees AI as a key pillar of future growth, hoping to catch up with the likes of Alphabet's Google, Apple and Facebook.

So, basically, if you're comfortable installing a roaming camera, microphone and location sensing device in your home that's created to watch your every action, listen to what you're saying and upload all this intel to the cloud to yield new programming instructions so the device changes how it acts around you in a pantomime of intelligence - this could be the artificial pet for you.

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