Screw the Luddites
I just saw a demo of the new Sony Aibo/2. That’s right – your dog, version 2. It’s kind of scary that we’re kicking off the consumer robotic revolution with a fake dog . . . but I think they picked the right household pet. If you accept the fact that if your little cat weighed a 100 pounds more, it would kill you and eat you—you can begin to see why a nation beset by Godzilla for the last 50-plus years would focus on a mechanical Rover.
It’s a pretty psycho version 2. The old model could look cute, roll around, sit, and respond to some basic commands—as long as the TV, stereo and children were all turned off. The new one, wow! You can shove an 802.11b card up its backside and this puppy can read you e-mail! How freaky is that? I had an inanimate object talk to me in college once. It was a stuffed toy that cost about 20 bucks; the animating “substance” cost under $20... considerably less than the two grand new Aibo unit sets you back.
Even more amazing, this puppy sports a built in video camera you can control from your PC. You heard that right; you can DRIVE this puppy. You can control him/her remotely around the house and check things out. It works up to 150 feet (more if you have a good antennae on your base station). Once you start thinking about it, the potential for mischief increases exponentially. Proof that the folks at Sony are just as perverted as the rest of us—it beeps in remote mode and it can’t look up more than 45 degrees. The fortune you were going to make through www.upskirtspics.com will have to wait.
I have this Bob Newhart sketch in my head I can’t get rid of. It’s the one where Columbus is trying to sell tobacco to the King of Spain. It got me thinking about how you sell a $2000, e-mail reading, spy poochie. I image the following conversation is coming soon to an electronic pet store near you: So it can read my e-mail?
Oh yes, right off the Internet. You point it at your e-mail account and it will let you know when you have mail and read it back to you. It’s like those talking robots at Disney.
Really? How does it do it?
It has a wireless network card in its ass. It connects to the Internet and picks up your e-mail using the ass-card and some software.
So for two grand I get a dog that connects to the Internet through its ass?
That’s right. You can even drive it around the house and see what happening.
Thanks to the card in its ass?
That’s right! You’ve read that the 802.11b standard would revolutionize networking. Here it is in action. This puppy has an Ethernet connection in its ass.
And it will read my mail?
Oh yes and fetch, follow commands, beg, act cut— the whole thing.
All thanks to that 802 whatever card?
Nearly, it does cute things without the card; you need the card to connect to the Internet.
What happens if I just buy the card and shove that up my current dogs ass?
To quote Accenture, “Now it starts getting interesting.”