OK, maybe the headings a bit tasteless, but then fuck - look at the damn thing. Its asking to be made into a pair of shoes and some lovely mittens. What is it? Well its the latest model of therapeutic robotic synth-animal with a $US5000 price tag. Yes, apparently the old folks lap this shit up, and according to the freaky Japanese who keep turning out some of the weirdest products, it increases happiness in the oldies, thereby decreasing stress, need for med's, and less requirement for nursing home staff to deal with cranky old nana's.
I'm not 100% convinced that this sort of stuff works. There have been studies (see here and here) and there is anecdotal evidence to support the fact that old people live better lives with the responsibility and companionship that comes with having an animal. But a freaking robot?
Even though it looks cuddly, do people want some simulcra of life taking up space on the bed at night, all in the name of keeping their nuts and bolts together? I'm sure its soft and all, but wouldn't it have a limited response set, like those toy dogs that you can buy that you turn on, they move half a metre, bark, sit up, repeat. Ok, I'm sure it has more tricks up its.....flipper than 3, but people, even old people, are not stupid. Well, some are, but this is not a product aimed at brain dead or mentally challenged shrieking bed pan hurlers. If it has, lets be generous, 50 different actions, surely anyone would notice after a limited amount of time that it was beginning to repeat itself.
And who wants a bloody sea dwelling mammal for a pet when you are already over the hill and gathering speed? Surely something a bit more independent like an adult cat, or adult dog, or a frickin hamster would be preferable?
Some might say, what the hell is your problem? Its a robotic seal? Build a bridge. But its precisely this waste of robot building talent that rev's me up - why waste million of dollars building something this shitty? Why not build something more useful like a beer retrieval robot that knows when you need one WITHOUT asking? Or a robot that chases the neighbours cats off the lawn so you don't have to dodge cat shit landmines next time you mow the bastard?
I'm all for that - the Catenator Mk1. Comes with optional flamethrower.