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It is better to kill a robot, than to kill an animal?

This article suggests that “for the elderly who may not be able to properly look after an animal at home” a robot is a great alternative to a real pet. There are many great reasons for this point of view that robots are great alternatives to pets, such as teaching responsibility to children and giving companionship to those with allergies.

The article presents no evidence that taking care of a robot is easier than taking care of an animal. It likely depends on the robot being taken care of, and your definition of the word robot. So the implication is that a robot “life” is worth less than animal life. Basically, it’s ok if a robot dies…? They also claim that MiRo has an “attention-seeking personality.” What’s your opinion: is it ok to not properly look after something that has a personality?

With 76 million sold world-wide, lots of tamagotchi (Tamagotchi - Wikipedia) probably perished in the digital pet craze and subsequent decline of the 90s and 2000s. Did you ever have a digital pet? Did yours die? How did you feel when it died? After it died, did you resurrect your tamagotchi? Let’s assume your robot has a personality, if your robot died, would you want to resurrect it?

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I have spent too much time around animals – I have to vote their lives higher than a robot’s (at least a current robot), I’m afraid.

But I also think there is a disparity between the death of an animal and a robot. When a robot dies, it can often be resurrected, with enough $ and work. When an animal dies… not so much.

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This question will be increasingly trickier as robots gain semblances of sentience—even well before they really are*—it will seem like they are.

*this is a sticky wicket, I know