In January of 2018, Sony released to the Japanese market “Aibo” – a robotic puppy. Already, over 20,000 of them have been sold, with plans to bring this product to the U.S. The retail price for this “puppy” in this country, with accessories, will be $2,899. Michael Fasulo, president and CEO of Sony Electronics North America stated, “This is truly a one-of-a-kind product designed to connect with its owners on an emotional level.” “At a recent unveiling, the robotic dog showed off its ability to react when people call or to play with a ball, eliciting cries from onlookers such as “Super cute!”
I have two dogs that I love dearly. They are loyal affectionate companions. They too are designed to “connect with its owners on an emotional level.” But here is the big difference – they are real.
While I am sure this expensive Sony toy is novel and cute, I believe it taps into a bigger issue. In our world of ever expanding technology, whether that be virtual reality experiences or robotic puppies, people are finding it easier and easier to not connect with real beings. Relationships are work. They require us to: love, apologize, forgive, problem solve, be accountable, and utilize any number of other relationship skills. But again they are real. Yes, the “pretend” is easier, but it is not nearly as satisfying as the authentic experience we can have when we connect with the “real” – be that human or puppy.
I would ask you to consider today, “How can you better relate to the genuine and significant relationships in your life?”