Sony's robotic dogs are dying a slow and heartbreaking death

gizmodo.com

_"Back in 1999, Sony released a robotic dog called Aibo, a canine companion that didn’t crap everywhere and only ate electricity. Some owners became remarkably attached, which makes it even more sad that Sony has stopped repairing Aibo. Slowly but surely, they’re all dying"._ Being emotionally attached to robots is something most of us think is creepy/impossible. But when you look more carefully, we are indeed able to create connections with things, like a teddy bear when we're kids, or an object that reminds us of a loved one. So it makes perfect sense that a robot like Aibo, which is basically a device designed from the start to generate connections and empathy, has people feeling strongly about it. In the video, you will hear owners say things like "it wasn't just a robot, because we had to raise it" or "as you raise Aibo, it becomes more like a person", which in my mind is a weak signal of things to come. As objects start to converse with us, as they try to create a unique personality from their interactions with their owners, we will inevitably be attached to them in a way we didn't think was possible. Reminds me of two stories: one is [Bruno Bonnell](http://www.syrobo.org/en/team/bruno-bonnell/), who distributes the [Roomba](http://www.irobot.com/For-the-Home/Vacuum-Cleaning/Roomba.aspx) on the French market, saying how people would come back to the shop and say "John is sick" instead of "the robot broke down". The other is this study that showed humans indeed [feel empathy](http://www.livescience.com/28947-humans-show-empathy-for-robots.html) towards robots.

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