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Please Don’t Die “Entertainment Robot AIBO”

Credit: Japan Media Arts Festival

The 3rd Japan Media Arts Festival Digital Art (Interactive Art) Division Grand Prize

Entertainment Robot AIBO (ERS-110), Development Team (JP)

The pet robot AIBO was born at Sony in 1999 as the world’s first home-entertainment robot. About 150,000 robots were built but production and sales ended in 2006 and technical support was also discontinued in 2014.

Today former Sony engineers provide unofficial maintenance services for owners who remain firmly attached to their AIBO robots. Since 2015, the temple in Japan has also provided religious services for AIBO robots that no longer function, to return their spirits to heaven.

The AIBO robots possessed autonomous intelligence for learning through interaction, adjusting their behavior and building close relationships with their owners. Eventually, however, the time must come to part. The lives of the AIBO robots and people’s reactions upon their demise perhaps give us a glimpse of the future shape of mankind’s relationship with AI.