Friends with robots?

Can machines become man's new best friend?

Washington Post

Perspective | Why these friendly robots can't be good friends to our kids

Jibo the robot swivels around when it hears its name and tilts its touchscreen face upward, expectantly. "I am a robot, but I am not just a machine," it says. "I have a heart. Well, not a real heart. But feelings. Well, not human feelings. You know what I mean. "

Actually, I'm not sure we do. And that's what unsettles me about the wave of "sociable robots" that are coming online. The new releases include Jibo, Cozmo, Kuri and M.A.X. Although they bear some resemblance to assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa (Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post), these robots come with an added dose of personality. They are designed to win us over not with their smarts but with their sociability. They are marketed as companions. And they do more than engage us in conversation — they feign emotion and empathy.

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Tech Radar

You and AI: will we ever become friends with robots?

From Fry and Bender in Futurama, to Data and the crew of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation, to deceptive Ava in Ex Machina, robot friends are a regular trope in science fiction. After all, is the idea of being pals with a mechanoid any weirder than Captain Kirk's intergalactic romantic life?

But. . . could this ever happen? Could we one day be going for a drink with our robotic pals? Or are the machines destined to remain our slaves?

Talking the talk

The first challenge when it comes to forming friendships is talking and exhibiting intelligent behaviour.

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