Robot dogs could replace real pets in cities

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Robot dogs could replace real pets in cities
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Brett Jordan

Taking care of a real pet is a big responsibility. The challenges are bigger in the cities where healthy resources are getting scarce. Time for robot dogs?

According to Australian researcher Jean-Loup Rault, virtual reality pets and robots could replace the real thing. Rault has published a study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science and says that cities of the future will be home to 9.5 billion people. That would not give enough room for both people and their pets.

So this is where technology will step in and robot pets will offer similar companionship with much less needed care. Researchers claim that people can react strong to robot pets and can feel both attached and connected with them. Naturally they would all prefer a real pet, but they are not that much against a robot dog for example.

Rault says that people can feel less responsible for robotic or virtual pets. For example the ever famous Tamagochi. Quite a lot of owners forgot to take proper care of their virtual pets. Others were bad to them deliberately to see what will happen.

Another research claims that kids view stuffed dogs as friends while they see dogs in a video game as entertainment. Researchers say a physical body may be needed to have a connection with something, even if a robotic pet. Noone dares to say how or when robot dogs will replace real dogs. Researchers say this is simply a possibility due to the expected development of humanity.

Currently about half of U.S. households own at least one pet. Pets are also popular in Europe and they get popular in emerging economies too. Plus more and more cities are incorporating pedestrian-friendly features, more green spaces, Gizmodo notes. So yes, robot dogs could replace real pets in cities, but that won’t be happeing any time soon. And before that, we always have our trusty stuffed dogs to keep us company.

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