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The Future is Blinking Nigh September 5, 2009

Posted by Bill in Personal, Science.

I saw an interesting article in the paper a while ago that really got me thinking. In a study by Saint Luis University they compared how effective a real dog was versus a robotic dog.

The study, which appeared in the March issue of the Journal of The American Medical Directors Association, tested whether residents of a nursing home responded better to Sparky, a trained therapy dog or to a robotic dog. Previous studies had shown that frequent visits by real flesh and blood dogs decreased loneliness in nursing home residents. With this study the scientists were wanting to check and see if they could get the same results with a robotic dog.

The results: the real just barely, repeat barely edged out the robotic dog. And what was really interesting was that the robotic dog did reduce loneliness and created feelings of attachment just like the real dog did. The main difference was that it took the residents about a week longer to warm up to the robotic dog.

Of course the robotic dog was programmed and built to be as cute and responsive as it could be. The robotic dog listened attentively, wagged its tail, and barked just like the real dog. And it could blink its lights – something the real dog could not. The residents would talk to both dogs and discuss their lives and past.

Now, this did get me thinking – is this the start of a radical new future drawing nigh upon us? Instead of flesh and blood dogs we have programmed dogs. Cats too. Horses. No messy messes to clean up, problem behaviors left unprogrammed and thus unrealized, consistent love and affection of a mechanical variety….. I almost said no more vet bills, but I assume mechanic bills would substitute instead, so never mind. And I would imagine longer lasting too.

Of course that brings up what happens when you get bored of your now long lasting pet. But that would be easily solved by visiting the pet programmer and programming some slight or not so slight changes in your pets behavior routine and its appearance.

And why stop with pets. Create your own programmable friend. Or spouse. Can you imagine a spouse built purposely for your needs and wants. There to do whatever I want, when I want. No more doing dishes for me. And since she is robotic she wouldn’t need to sleep. Instead she could do all those domestic chores while slept and then still be ready for a little quick nookie before we both go off to work. And if I got tired of her looks or personality a quick visit to the robot shop for some alterations. Further…… hmmmm – I think I had better stop here. My wife does sometimes read these things.

But imagine – a world full of robotic friends and pets . No more having to mess around with the messily organic with their flaws and their own needs, desires, and dreams. A robot for every person. Two robotic parents for every child. A human – mechanical utopia. Yes, the future is nigh and blinking brightly.



1. Dindy - September 5, 2009

I have to ask- are there any messes that are not messy?

befuddled2 - September 5, 2009

Well you have a qualitative difference in messes. You have the wet, squishy, odorous ones and then you have the nuts and bolts which are solid and non odorous. I don’t consider that latter to be really messy by comparison.

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