Preview: Friend Bots

24.04.2017 Neo-Kinship : Artificial Intelligence : Kuri
Kuri campaign by Mayfield Robotics

Brands are combining artificial intelligence with anthropomorphic design to create robots that offer friendship on demand.

  • By 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse, according to Gartner
  • Brands are using artificial intelligence (AI) and anthropomorphic design to create robots whose main function is to provide friendship

While the kind of domesticated androids envisaged in tv and film are some distance off, humanoid machines designed to act as friends or even partners are an affordable reality for many consumers.

Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri is a 20-inch, vaguely anthropomorphic device that has few practical functions beyond playing music and recording the occasional video. Its main purpose is to emote rather than carry out menial tasks. It uses its expressive eyes, glowing heart and an endearing language of chirps to create a reassuring presence as it follows users around their home.

‘It doesn’t feel like a robot in the traditional sense. It connects to people in a different way than normal technology,’ explains Chris Matthews, vice-president of marketing at Mayfield Robotics. ‘It’s very much about what people feel.’

The Big Picture

For more on how brands are combining robotics, artificial intelligence and affective design tactics to create a new era of automated companionship, read our Friend Bots microtrend.