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The Jibo social robot announces its own demise with a little dance

My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it…

jibo robot on blue background
Image: Jibo

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No disassemble! Wait, that was a different robotic pal. It’s a sad week for friends of Jibo, the cute social robot, as Jibos worldwide will soon become expensive paperweights (do people still use paperweights? What’s the electronic version of a paperweight for email?).

Just like HAL in 2001, the servers that power Jibo are about to be switched off. Unlike HAL, Jibos only fault was to be created by a company with less business sense than the soon-to-be-defunct Jibo himself. First brought into existence from an Indiegogo campaign in 2012 that raised over $3.5 million, Jibo’s creators went on to gain (then burn) another $70 million in venture capital.

Maybe Jibo was ahead of its time

Maybe Jibo was the trailhead, the modern-day equivalent of Nintendo’s R.O.B., overpriced, cute, and ahead of its time. If Amazon hadn’t saturated the smart speaker market with its Echo devices, would Jibo have been more of a success? Possibly not, I mean Jibo was $900 when he launched in 2017. The company went kaput only a year later, likely proving that even the best device will fail if it’s at the wrong time.

With a host of other robotic buddies in the interim like Cozmo, Vector, Groove-X Lovot, and Liku, Jibo would have been heading the pack if he had been released on schedule. Pour out a glass of Novec for our poor departed lil robotic buddy.

The way users were alerted to the server shutdown? Jibo reads his own obituary to them, in what feels like a sanitized version of the end scenes from 2001: A Space Oddysey. Jibo starts with his jaunty tone, “Well, it’s not great news…” before swinging his hips (if he could be said to have them), going on to tell his owner that “I want to say I’ve really enjoyed our time together. Thank you very, very much for having me around.”

Do not go quietly into that good night, little Jibo. Rage, rage against the dying of the servers.

What do you think? Was Jibo ahead of its time or part of an industry that has no future? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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