Unless you’re some sort of monster, you probably like animals. But you’re also a busy person who may not have the time to take care of a real, living pet. That means you’re left coming home to a cold, empty apartment with no one to greet you. That’s just depressing. Luckily, technology can help! Thanks to the Kiki AI-enabled robot “sidekick,” you can have an artificial pet that never needs to be fed or taken for a walk, but will still act like it loves you.
Kiki, created by a company called Zoetic AI that was founded by two former Google employees, recently launched on Kickstarter. So far, it has raised about $10,000 — which is 10 percent of the funding goal. As the campaign video will confidently tell you, “you’ve always dreamed of having a robot companion.” Now you can have one!
Like many other competing products that have hit the market recently, Kiki is pretty darn adorable. It can’t drive around or anything, but it can move its head and show emotions using eyes on an LCD screen, RGB LEDs, and cute little sounds. You can interact with Kiki by petting one of its touch sensors. Kiki will also watch you with a camera and can recognize you and your friends. Zoetic AI does, however, promise that the data collected will never be uploaded to the cloud.
Despite having “real-time onboard intelligence,” Kiki isn’t a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. It can’t order you toilet paper, tell you tomorrow’s weather forecast, or put appointments on your calendar. Instead, it’s designed simply to provide you with social interaction. It will develop a personality, understand your feelings, and — as the copy proudly proclaims — Kiki “loves you back.”
If that sounds like something you want in your home, the Kiki Kickstarter campaign will be running until September 28th. A single Kiki robot — with birth certificate included — will cost you a whopping $799. Rewards are expected to be delivered in May of 2020. Or, you could just go to your local animal shelter and adopt a real animal that needs a home.