Can Sony's robot pup Aibo make friends with real dogs?
If the future looks anything like the Jetsons, we may have a robot maid helping us around the house someday.
We're nowhere near there right now.
But with more and more tech coming into our homes, we wondered, how would our pets feel about it, particularly when it's something like a robot dog?
To find out we brought Sony's robot dog AIBO to an empty where House, a soon to be pet daycare under construction, and introduced it to some real dogs.
Our producer's dog, Boomba, got the most time with Aibo, though.
She lived with the robot dog for 12 days, all under expert supervision.
Ellen, you are a dog A behaviorist, tell us a little bit about what we're gonna see today.
Well, we are going to see how some real dogs interact with our robot dog.
As a associate certified applied animal behaviorist, I do use fake dogs in my assessments.
So I'm working with dogs who have problems, it would be really interesting to see how they interact with
With a dog that does move around like a normal dog, and could that be useful in my consultations?
And also, how my pet dogs interact with Aibo in a home.
Sony did a similar experiment in Japan.
They introduced Aibo to 13 dogs and kept a close eye for initial reaction.
Then they send Ibo into three homes for two weeks.
Today we'll compare findings and see if any of our dogs except Ibo as one of their own.
So we have six individual dogs that we're gonna introduce to Iboand then we're also gonna do two groups of three to see how having other dogs around might come back to their interactions with Ibo I'll be looking for some specific, you know, dog dog breeding, things that they might do, and some fearfulness, some comfort, and play behavior, and I'll be really interested to see what they do.
But first let's meet our doggy Roster.
This is Essy.
Essy is about three and a half That's Devon Conline, doggy daycare owner and all around dog lover.
She's not huge into actually wresting around but what she does is she circles and barks at dogs when they're playing.
He's brought six dogs of all ages Ages, breeds and personalities to meet their robot counterpart.
Esy sees up first.
So, cautious didn't expect it to move I think.
She seems pretty relaxed and curious, her tail is kind of neutral.
I noticed that she sniffed the robot dog's ****.
Do you think that was an attempt at recognition, like I think you're-
Yeah, when I use the fake dog, I find that universally testing it with dogs that are nervous around other dogs and dogs that are very social, [SOUND] that they will do all of these normal social greetings.
So, sniff that, you know, [UNKNOWN], then sniff the face and the ears and you know kind of go nose nose a little bit.
She's kind of like I don't really know what this is but you know it's not too scary but I'm not too interested either.
Let's see if our second participant does any better.
Bronx is definitely uncertain about what this is, it's moving to he's trying to figure out why it's moving.
[SOUND] This kind of reaction, I also see with robots that are much less dog-like like the robot vacuums.
So Because it's moving and making noise, they may do that kind of thing.
How much of this is just introducing one dog to another dog?
They sometimes react similarly.
They may although because he's very dog social, I would not expect this reaction to a new dog.
I would expect a lot more relaxed body language and it'd be a little play ball here and there as well.
Sniff and some approaches when it's just to give the other dog some space but not because he's uncertain about that interaction.
So we're going to bring in the last dog of this first group.
The third dog, this is Mooshu.
Mooshu is actually deaf so the sounds won't bother him so we'll see what kind of difference that might make.
Here he comes now, definitely straight to the rear end for a sniff.
I think as it moved around quite a bit, it started to get a little more hesitant, like I'm not quite sure if this thing can come at me if I should go near it.
But you know, this is very expected for me and all three of the dogs reactions are curious and uncertain, and they're just not sure what to make of it.
I think we'll see Some big differences with the three together.
So we've got Essie running right up to it because she's got some friends backing up here.
And then Bronx a little bark but not approaching it.
And where is Mushu?
Mushu is saying no thank you but Not coming through the door.
With three dogs down and three more to go the feeling in the room right now is most certainty.
We did see some dogs go in for sniff though, just like Sonja reported.
But our expert isn't convinced it's anything more than curiosity.
I think they would need some time to get comfortable with the way it moves and how it sounds and be able to kind of ignore that and then maybe start some social interactions.
This time we're gonna try introducing eyeballs to all three dogs at once that way they will have their first impression while they have Out there, social friends around.
It should be interesting what they do.
All right, let's do it.
Henry goes right up, definitely trying to get a sniff around the face.
And see, Henry has a very stiff tail, it's only wagging at the end.
That is it.
I'm not sure what is happening right now.
Tail wag, it goes alound with the rest of his stiff body language.
But the movement are, I think not natural enough for them to feel comfortable.
Give us your final thoughts on this group, how did they do overall?
Well, we didn't see a big fear reaction like we saw with [UNKNOWN] These guys remain pretty confident and relaxed but Not terribly interactive I feel like Henry did just a tiny little maybe play about so that was kind of the most dog like interaction that I've seen from the six stars.
There's a lot of variables here, personalities, familiarity, exposure it all comes into play to see just how [UNKNOWN] adjusted to living with Aibo we recorded snippets of their days together and got Ellen to weigh in
She looks so little upset about it at the moment.
There is some lowering of the head, head even with or lower than the shoulders, checking in with person, some blinking, some furled eyebrows.
Now it looks like she might be hiding behind the table.
Now approaching sniffing and passing on by, I think she's getting a little bit more comfortable cheese, not showing quite as much of the stiff still body language definitely moving around more.
So then what are your impressions overall after seeing how boom lives with this thing for several weeks Well she definitely acclimated to it, so it wasn't [UNKNOWN] and scary anymore.
She wasn't terribly interactive with it.
Overall I don't think that she thinks it's a dog.
She, I don't know what she thinks of this.
But that last clip where she was trying to rescue her toys from being near AIBO that was really the first sign that I thought well, maybe she thinks that AIBO can get the toy but mostly not a lot of Internet In her actions.
So she might just still be forming an idea of what I believes.
Overall we saw alot of apprehension come on our dog's friends.
No real signs that these Pops except Ibol was one of their own, like in sonny study.
But some hope that over time that at least get used to idea of having.
Hanging around, as for Bubba and Idol I think we got a pretty long way to go before we can call them friends.
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