So, in the 2060s, androids are a common feature in every household, especially the domestic ones. They clean houses, walk dogs, give messages, and everyone loves the D12 models the most. They not only help you with cleaning, but also can be seen as part of the family. They get taken out to birthday parties, vacations to the beach, and restaurants, and the robots are designed to be stupid, cute and cuddly looking. They D16s also have pre-programmed emotions, so people enjoy just talking about all their problems to them, like a therapist. Later, CyboTek, the manufacturer who produces the androids, releases the new D17 model. But, there is a problem. No one wants to give up their androids to be scrapped, and they can’t have TWO in one household, as the energy patrol doesn’t allow it. So, is there a plausible way for the company to get a majority of people to buy the new model?
closed as primarily opinion-based by Mołot, Aify, Secespitus, Renan, DT Cooper Jun 8 '18 at 16:48
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Don't want to give up all the data on your
phone Android, you say? Well, you don't have to. Simply backup your android's personality to the cloud, after paying for the increased storage space of course. Then, you can restore it to the new model android you just bought.
As a bonus, Banana Corp. will send you convienent reminders when the backup is out of date or your storage space is getting full. Never worry again!
This is already a solved problem! You don't sell the robots, you lease them by the year. Not only does this generate a continuing income stream -- which investors prefer -- but it also eliminates the need to sell a new model to an existing customer. (Note that this does not need to cost the customer more in order to be beneficial to the company.)
Robots are going to be attacked and hacked as soon as the first batch are built. The only protection between a family and a psycho robot controlled by malefactors is a continuous stream of updates as new vulnerabilities are discovered -- just like today. So keeping the robot tied to the company that built it and letting them maintain it is win-win.
And, with Robots as a Service, if a family wants to keep the personality while upgrading to a new model of hardware, that's a service you can sell.
There is an anime called Plastic Memories that has this exact problem as its central premise. Androids - known as Giftia in the show - have limited lifespans of around seven years. Beyond that point, their internal data starts to become corrupted, and they gradually become dangerous and unstable. It's never stated why this happens, but a likely candidate is some kind of overflow error: its memory banks run out of space and start overwriting themselves, resulting in the mental equivalent of the Pac-Man kill screen.
Consequently, the company that makes the Giftia has
Blade Runners dedicated retrieval teams that will retrieve and shut down the androids when they approach the end of their lifespan, and then provide the owners with various options for upgrades or replacements. In your case, CyboTek would recommend trading in the D16 for a D17, for a discounted price of course.
(Important thing to note: this isn't planned obsolescence, but some kind of technological limitation that they simply can't get round. It's made apparent in the show that the
Blade Runners retrieval teams are a drain on the company's resources, and of course, having androids that freak out after a certain period isn't great for publicity, so if they could fix the problem, they would.)
Of course, you'll still have a few people who are so emotionally attached to their androids that they'll simply refuse to part with them (one woman in the anime even runs away with her android boyfriend). But that's why your company has
Blade Runners dedicated retrieval teams. Again: malfunctioning androids are bad for publicity.
In short: CyboTek's androids have a limited lifespan, due to some intrinsic design flaw, and need periodic replacement.
Well, as a forward thinking CEO I have to make sure I can remotely roll software updates to my androids, right??
And as a forward thinking CEO I also have a responsibility to
my shareholders make sure that nobody misses out on the great interactivity and social updates that only the D17 has, right?
So if I roll out ‘upgrades’ slowly making the D16’s less and less likeable, breaking important social cue detection etc, then people will naturally flock to the later product. Right.
Nothing Machiavellian at all. Nope. Just a concerned CEO.
The new android model must have an advantage above the old models that must make all the owners want to upgrade them (perhaps they are more energy efficient, or are stronger, or have more voices, or different habilities, or human-like skin, or enhanced sense of humor, etc.). Besides, they don´t need to destroy the old ones. I mean: They could "backup" the memories of the old droid and "restore" the image in the new model. So they will still have their old friend in a new enhanced and more efficient body.