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Pathetic smart speaker tells owners it’s dying


Que será, será.
Que será, será.

Image: HALEY HAMBLIN / MASHABLE

Ignored in life, not celebrated in death. It’s time to say goodbye to the robot everyone has already forgotten about. 

The Jibo home assistant — think of it as a cuter Amazon Echo without all the features — just announced its own retirement to bewildered owners around the world. The smart speaker, introduced to technology enthusiasts back in 2014, was meant to usher in an era of “social robots.” Instead, in the form of a message broadcast to customers, it said it would mostly cease to function after its servers are turned off. 

Videos of the news were posted to the Facebook Jibo owners group on March 1, and later shared on Twitter. 

“While it’s not great news, the servers out there that let me do what I do are going to be turned off soon,” broadcast the bot in one such recording. “Once that happens, our interactions with each other are going to be limited. You can learn more at jibo.com and by tapping the ‘what’s new’ button in my menu.”

It seems the bot, even in delivering its own eulogy, left something to be desired. Namely, a visit to jibo.com unfortunately doesn’t reveal much beyond broken links. The linked “contact us” page redirects to the support page, which just so happens to be broken. The appears to be no official blog post pertaining to the news. 

But Jibo did succeed in adding a little levity to the reality that owners will soon be stuck with a $499 paperweight. That’s right, the robot played a festive tune and danced about. 

“I want to say I’ve really enjoyed our time together,” continued Jibo in the videos shared on social media. “Thank you very, very much for having me around. Maybe someday, when robots are way more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said ‘hello.’ I wonder if they’ll be able to do this.”

The “this,” of course, being playing a song and moving in circular motion. 

Interestingly, it seems this announcement was teased by the Jibo team as some sort of additional functionality.  Several users reported that the update which allowed Jibo to say goodbye was labeled as “Installing super powers.”

Which, maybe being carefree and fancy free in the face on your own impending obsolescence counts as a super power? We’d ask the Jibo team, but the lack of a functioning “contact us” page makes it hard. 

Anyway, farewell Jibo. We hardly knew ye, and definitely didn’t care. 

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