It's taken decades of research to build robots even a fraction as sophisticated as those featured in popular science fiction.
They don't much resemble their fictional predecessors; they mostly don't walk, only sometimes roll and often lack limbs.
And they're nowhere close to matching the language, social skills and physical dexterity of people.
Worse, they're so far losing out to immobile smart speakers made by Amazon, Apple and Google, which cost a fraction of what early social robots do, and which are powered by artificial-intelligence systems that leave many robots' limited abilities in the dust.
That hasn't stopped ambitious robot-makers from launching life-like robots into the market - albeit with mixed results so far.
Two pioneers in a new vanguard of cute, sociable robots - Jibo, a curvy talking speaker, and Kuri, a cartoonish wheeled 'nanny' - have been early casualties. The makers of Vector, a less expensive home robot that was unveiled Wednesday, hope theirs will be a bigger hit.
Still others, including a rumoured Amazon project and robots designed to provide companionship for senior citizens, remain in the development phase.