Aibo is very much a puppy. When you open one up for the first time, it won't know any tricks and it probably won't listen to anything you say. But as you play with it, Aibo will learn to recognize your face (it can recognize up to 100 people); discover how to sit and stand on command; and in general, become better trained. That $2,899 price in the US gets you three years of Sony's AI Cloud service, which will keep track of what Aibo learns every day and help it improve with AI algorithms.
At a launch event in New York City today, Sony invited press to play with Aibo for the first time. And it didn't take long for it to wiggle its way into our hearts. Just watching two Aibos wander around on their own and play with each other, while yapping with gentle puppy barks, was enough to make me want one. When I reached down to pet one on the head, it reacted with surprise and delight. And when I nuzzled its chin with my hand, it leaned into my finger as if it was actually enjoying the experience. Simpy interacting with the Aibo felt more natural than before.