Jibo was a "social robot" startup that burned through $76m in venture capital and crowdfunding before having its assets sold to SQN Venture Partners late last year.
Earlier this week, reporter Dylan J Martin tweeted a video of a $899 Jibo robot bidding its owner farewell, announcing that the new owners of his servers were planning to killswitch it; the robot thanked him "very very much" for having it around, and asked that "someday, when robots are more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said 'hello.'"
Then, the Jibo performed a melancholy dance.
This is a neat little parable about the danger of the server-tethered, DRM-locked IoT future, a world where robot dogs and even juicers only work for so long as some people in a distant boardroom consider it worthwhile to keep them working (this is also the the McGuiffin of my novella Unauthorized Bread, which appears in Radicalized).
The robot's message tells owners to go to the Jibo website for more information on the shutdown, but Jibo's website appears to be mostly shut down itself, with broken links and videos.
Dying social robot Jibo goes out with a song and a dance [Ashley Carman/The Verge]
The servers for Jibo the social robot are apparently shutting down. Multiple owners report that Jibo himself has been delivering the news: "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." pic.twitter.com/Sns3xAV33h
— Dylan Martin (@DylanLJMartin) March 2, 2019