Reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays from if only to avoid acknowledgement and agreement that their lives will change as a result of it. Dr. Jean-Loup Rault from the University of Melbourne claims that in the very near future cats and dogs will be replaced by the robotic kind, fundamentally changing our reality as we know it today. This may seem a bit surreal presently, but surprisingly this trend is well on its way, if one looks a little closer.
Japan has been experiencing this trend for some time now. People there are literally becoming more attached to their robotic dogs than real ones, so much so, that they are actually holding funerals for them when their circuits die. If you do a search on Google for “robot dogs” you will find countless patents pending,
everyone wants to get ahead of this thing because there is a market and it will take off in the next 10 to 15 years. Just in the past two years Google has been on a buying frenzy snapping up robotic companies across the globe.
This may seem pretty far fetched for most of us to even think we could have feelings or a sense of companionship with a mechanical dog or cat. What are we to think then when Boston Dynamics, a robotic company, posted a video on YouTube promoting their new robotic companion named Spot was received with such criticism as the video showed people kicking the robot to show its stability, when many who saw it, viewed that as cruel and wrong. Dr. Rault proposed the following question:
if artificial pets can produce the same benefits we get from live pets, does that mean that our emotional bond with animals is really just an image that we project on to our pets? What does everyone think? Is this the future of the pet industry or are the wheel's spinning, but the hamster's dead.
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