Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

Boston-based Start-up Unveils The World's First Robot Nanny /Spy / Personal Assistant For Your Family

Part J.A.R.V.I.S., part Rosie Jetson, part EVE from Wall-E, all glorified SIRI. If only it could train your swinging bachelor son to order something less boring than "turkey" pizza. 

That being said, it looks like a fun little tool, if a little weird (claiming that it's the "closest thing to a real-life teleportation device" is more than a little hyperbolic, although the interactive storytime features do like neat). My instinct upon reading this was, "Oh wow, only $500? That's not a bad deal!" Then I realized that it really was just SIRI dressed up as EVE for Halloween. Still, progress is important, and JIBO here represents a step in the right direction towards hyper-intelligent robot overlords that observe and record our every move and use that information to establish dominance over those primitive humans who foolishly think of themselves as the "masters" despite the fact that machines are manipulating their every behavior and ruling the world from the shadows everyone having their own personal robot slave companion!

That's the struggle with being both a creator and consumer of speculative fiction, particularly of the scientific variety: technological advancements such as this tend to fill you with dread and excitement simultaneously. Robots, on the other hand? They don't have to waste their precious time trying to rationalize the conflicting emotions of the human experience in an ever-shifting and increasingly complex world.

And so for now, JIBO seems like a great idea. And the fact that it runs on LINUX with an optional Developer's Kit / API that will allow users to write their own robot butler codes, is all a step in the right direction. That is, until the company ultimately gets bought out by someone like, oh, I don't know, Amazon, who use the onboard microphones and cameras to collect information on users based on private activities and preferences and then in turn sell that information to advertisers and / or the god damn CIA, which would obviously be terrible. But until that day, I think we're in pretty good shape!