Is robots the next big thing ?

4 years ago

LOTS of people dislike business travel. It`s expensive and time-consuming, and it can be lonely and stressful. But is it so bad that it`s worth buying a $15,000 robot just so you can avoid it? Technology startup Anybots hopes so. They`re counting on "remote presence robots" to revolutionise video conferencing and make business travel less necessary. If you live in New York and just can`t make that meeting in Bangalore, you can have your robotic avatar attend the meeting for you.

I hate to seem like a Luddite about this, but are people really expecting me to take remote presence robots seriously? Anybots` current model, called "QB," looks like a friendly, anthropomorphic Segway. Lots of folks have trouble looking at regular Segways without giggling. What happens when one rolls into a meeting and starts talking in the VP for Marketing`s voice? Colour me sceptical of this whole venture. It`s not like Anybots` chief operating officer, Bob Christopher, has a spotless record, either. Mr Christopher previously ran Ugobe, the now-defunct company that made Pleo, a robotic dinosaur toy. Just because you can make an awesome robot doesn`t mean you can get people to buy it.

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