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In Japan, Robot Dogs Get Funerals

(Photo: AFP)

AIBOs are robotic dogs with artificial intelligence. They're capable of developing unique personalities. So some owners in Japan think of them as pets, just like dogs. Sony manufactured them from 1999 through 2006 and offered service assistance through 2014. Then, the company decided to discontinue technical support. When an AIBO broke down, the owner would be on his own.

Some AIBOs, sadly, are beyond repair by independent technicians. Their bodies are stripped for parts, then given a proper funeral at a Buddhist temple east of Tokyo. The AFP reports:

The only source of genuine parts are "dead" robots, who become donors for organ transplantation, but only once the proper respects have been paid.

Bungen Oi, a priest at the 450-year-old Kofukuji temple in Isumi, east of Tokyo, says the AIBO service last month was an occasion on which the robots' souls could pass from their bodies.

"I was thrilled over the interesting mismatch of giving cutting-edge technology a memorial service in a very conventional manner," he said.

It is a mismatch that humans will probably become more used to over the coming years and decades, as robots with "personalities" become ever more part of our lives.

-via Marginal Revolution


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