Give it 5 or 10 years, but the Teddy Ruxpin of tomorrow is going to crawl, sort of converse with your kid, watch what your kid does, and report any problems back to you, electronically. I’ve been looking a lot at what robots can do – how mobile and smart and gentle they can be, and we’re at an exciting precipice. Teddy might start out with wheels.
Long before robots trick adults into thinking they are sentient, they will trick our children and our animals, who can sometimes hardly tell the difference between statues and the real thing. Robot companions for children will whisper words of love, sense consternation in the children, and encourage them to do educational things.
This, more than anything, may accelerate our collective intelligence. You can add up all the robotics manufacturing progress and war bots and vacuum cleaners, and it won’t stack up at all against the what we reap from a lot of early, interactive childhood play and education. Let’s see that IQ graph after the robot revolution.
And oh, the market… parents will do the buying, because they will love the idea of a roving baby monitor, with built in entertainment functions. The robots will start in the house, but soon you’ll see these little “toys” skittering around, behind children, all over the place. And then the children and robots will all play in groups, and we’ll eventually stop being able to tell the difference, from a distance, or perhaps even from close up.