The concept of traditional household pets is getting a futuristic twist with the emergence of AI-powered robotic pets that don’t require feeding, grooming or walks in the park.
Robot dog: Chinese company Unitree Robotics recently unveiled its consumer tech product called the Go1, an intelligent quadruped robot designed to be a companion without the need for leashes or collars.
It mimics the movements of a dog and incorporates stability control, motion coordination, obstacle avoidance and adaptive learning through AI.
Go1, which can reach speeds of up to 10 miles per hour, can even tailor its pace to match that of its owner, whether they’re cycling, skateboarding, or simply strolling.
The Go1 is also equipped with fisheye binocular sensors and human recognition software, allowing it to follow its owner’s cues. The most basic version of the robot weighs 26 pounds and boasts a load-carrying capacity of up to 11 pounds. The company currently sells it for $2,700 with an additional $1,000 for shipping.
Miniature marvel: LivingAI, also a startup based in China, offers a more compact AI companion in Emo, an AI-powered desktop pet just under 5 inches tall. The diminutive robot, which is powered by internal sensors and AI processing, can respond to its owner with over 1,000 facial expressions and movements.
Emo is reportedly able to explore its environment, learn from interactions and even do simple tasks such as turning on lights or setting alarms. Emo is currently being sold on the company’s website for $279.
Concerns raised: Despite the robots‘ stated practical uses and benefits, experts have advised caution in the addition of AI pets to one’s home.
In an interview with Fox News, Dr. Harvey Castro, a prominent voice in AI healthcare, noted that while AI pets provide consistent companionship with minimal maintenance, they cannot replicate the intricate experiences that come with caring for a living being. Real animals foster physical activity and offer a deeper emotional connection, which AI companions cannot fully emulate. He also raised concerns about data privacy and dependency on AI pets for companionship, adding that the potential long-term psychological effects — particularly on children — remain largely uncharted territory.