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Trep Talk

No Sci-Fi Here: Your Own Personal Robot Is Coming

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
min read

What if you could have a robot to keep you company, be your buddy and help you with your chores? What would you want your robot look like? Would it be funny? Chatty? Quiet?

Those musings aren't the stuff of science-fiction daydreams. They're real questions – and they could become relevant sooner than we think.

"How could we build robots so that everybody could have a robot? And that my robot would be as individual as my smartphone? Except it would be able to walk around and talk to me and make jokes," asks Brian David Johnson, the resident futurist at tech giant Intel. sat down with Johnson at The Feast social innovation conference in New York City this past fall.

Johnson built himself a robot, which he named Jimmy. Jimmy is completely 3-D printable and the code for Jimmy is open source, meaning that anyone can use the software that runs Jimmy without a licensing fee.

Johnson admits he’s quite smitten with Jimmy. Robots are, after all, intended to be social creatures in Johnson's vision of the future.

For some people, the idea of robots being our friends in the future can feel scary. As we move into a future where we all may have our own Jimmy, part of being comfortable with where we are going is to think about it, talk about it and play out what this new reality may look like. It is our responsibility to have our sense of humanity drive our relationship with and use of technology going forward, says Johnson.

Watch this video to hear more about how humans will have robot friends in the future.


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