After Sony stopped repairing its robotic dog Aibo, owners are holding funerals for their robots, as many are beginning to shut down.
While it may seem a little bizarre, the Japanese culture’s belief in everything, inanimate objects included, having a soul does bring a little clarity to the situation.
“The meaning of this Aibo funeral comes from our realization that everything is connected, says a man in a New York Times video. “The inanimate and animate are not separated in this world”
These grieving owners are part of a very small group of people that actually got their hands on the Aibo. The robotic dog was introduced to the market in 1999 and cost around 250,000 yen, or $2,000 according to today’s rates. The company only sold 150,000 and stopped production after its fifth Aibo version in 2006, a robot that had around 60 emotions, according to The New York Times. Sony did continue to repair the robots until March of last year. Now, these owners are trying to figure out how to keep their Aibos alive and feeling anxious about the prospect of having their dog robot stop working with one woman declaring she “can’t live without it now.”
To learn more about these Aibo owners, check out the Times impressive short film.