There’s a lot of hype around the release of Sony’s latest robotic dog. It’s called “aibo,” and is promoted as using artificial intelligence to respond to people looking at it, talking to it and touching it.
Japanese customers have already bought over 20,000 units, and it is expected to come to the U.S. before the holiday gift-buying season — at a price nearing US$3,000.
Why would anyone pay so much for a robotic dog?
My ongoing research suggests part of the attraction might be explained through humanity’s longstanding connection with various forms of puppets, religious icons, and other figurines, that I collectively call “dolls.”
[Read the rest at Salon]