“Hey, Kuri,” I say. “I love you.”
Pause. I brace for rejection, but then the robot lets out a balooop and shimmies back and forth. This, I am to presume, means Kuri loves me too.
Interacting with Kuri, a robot set to hit the market in December, is at once fascinating, delightful, and puzzling. Kuri’s creators call it a “companion robot,” but this is no Furby. Kuri belongs to a new class of machines that actually are intelligent, and actually make useful assistants at home. You can see them out in the wild, helping disabled people with routine daily tasks. Soon they’ll remind the elderly to take their medication. Kuri’s more of an all-purpose companion, a member of your family that also happens to play music and take video.