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Pet Robots vs Robotaxis

The basic philosophy of pet robots helps to explain the potential benefits of a future partnership model between a human and a machine.

Nicobo, a "weak" robot (Source: Panasonic)

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By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Never underestimate pet robots. Sure, they’re toys and they’re adorable . But they foreshadow a future in which people need to communicate, interact and establish relationships with machines.

I’ve been back “home” in Japan for less than a week, during which I’ve been repeatedly reminded — again — of this country’s eternal fascination with robots, and with how people here tend to fall in love with anything cute.

I refer, of course, to Nicobo, a cuddly robot developed by Panasonic and released last May.

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