clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What do you do when your pet is dying, and it's a robot?

Sony is no longer producing the Aibo, the company's robotic dog that was released in 1999. There are no replacement parts to be found outside of taking them from existing, functional robots. The company will no longer repair the robot. The remaining "pets" are out in the world, slowly dying.

This is the story of how people are dealing with this eventuality.

<iframe width="640" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="true" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" id="nyt_video_player" title="New York Times Video - Embed Player" src=""></iframe>

It's a somewhat disturbing video that shows the emotional connection people have forged with their mechanical pets, and the lengths they're willing to go to in order to keep these devices "alive."

"One day the parts will be gone, and Aibo will die," one owner said. "But as long as I'm alive I want them around because they are a part of the family."

This is what it looks like when an object is designed to create an emotional bond with its owner, while being unable to transcend its reality as a disposable bit of electronics. The future is a scary place.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon