New Companions

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This chapter draws on advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics to question the orthodoxy of artificial Companions research. Two areas of work are outlined and used to suggest artificial Companions need not be restricted to simulacrums of humans or animals. First, it is argued the developments in AI have given rise to the prospect of very different kinds of machines, machines that are unlike humans or animals but that we may still want to form relationships with. Second, details are presented of a project exploring energy autonomous robots. Ecobot, an example of such a robot, is shown to exhibit unique characteristics that may afford new, distinctive forms of Companionship. Finally, a design concept of an autonomously powered, household radio is presented to illustrate how these new kinds of relationships might be investigated further.


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