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Cultural Differences in Robot Pet Adoption


As the field of robotics and technology continue to progress, robot pet adoption is steadily becoming a norm in various parts of the world. The upgrades and improvements being added to newer models present many benefits to their private owners and even to the public, which is why more people are now looking into robot pet adoption.

While robot pets are primarily created to serve as alternative companions to their real-life counterparts, their roles in society and to an owner may also differ depending on cultural differences and preferences. In this article, we take a general look at how different societies perceive and adopt robot companions.

Robot Pets as Companions

Cultural Differences in Robot Pet Adoption

Given that they are alternatives to living pets, robot pets are often perceived by people from different parts of the world as companions. It also helps that many manufacturers design robot pets to become companions to owners by integrating features and technology that will make them social and at times, even empathetic.

In the U.S., many manufacturers create accessible robot pet companions and even partner with organizations and government offices to distribute them as such. For this reason, it’s no surprise that American culture would see robot pets as healthcare of lifelong companions, especially for senior citizens and the elderly.

As it is also in their culture for elderly loved ones to move into a home for the aged and facility, robot pet adoption is often done to help alleviate their loneliness when they are away from their families and pets.

Similarly, many Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and China also adopt robot pets as lifelong companions to alleviate their loneliness. While it is not in their culture to move their elderly loved ones to a home, there are plenty of young Asians who prefer to live a solitary life. Thus, those who are seeking pet companionship without the extra effort and responsibilities of taking care of one often look into robot pet adoption.

Robot Pets as Serious Toys

Cultural Differences in Robot Pet Adoption

There are also those who perceive robot pets as serious toys and adopt them to be ‘expensive gadgets’ of theirs. This treatment of robot pet adoption is often seen among young Americans who are into robotics, technology, or pop culture. While they don’t see robot pets as lifelong companions and would prefer the warmth of a real living pet, robot pets can also provide some enjoyment to their lives.

In some cultures, they see robot pets as an extension of their identity or talents. Many European and American artists use and adopt robot pets to further enhance their work may it be by teaching them how to paint or even walk a runway.

Robot Pets as Helpers

Cultural Differences in Robot Pet Adoption

Plenty of countries and cultures adopt high-end robot pets to serve as helpers. May it be for private companies, in their homes, or for the public society, these robot pets help assist humans in many ways. For instance, Italy has adopted robot dogs to help safeguard and monitor areas in Pompeii and the U.S. army is investing in military robot dogs to help in missions.

Private companies and businesses are also adopting robot dogs to help guard their properties and patrol areas. However, depending on where you’re from, there are citizens concerned about the use of robot pets as patrollers and guards. The issue of privacy and possible malfunctions are a few of their worries.

There are also cultures wherein robot pets are used to help in educational settings. These robots can be used to teach STEM or even lecture an entire class, and based on a recent report, Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region for educational robots.

Final Note

Cultural Differences in Robot Pet Adoption

While preference and intended purpose play major roles in how a robot pet will be used, culture also contributes to society and individual’s perception towards these robotic companions. At the end of the day though, robot pets will first and foremost serve their ultimate purpose of assisting humans — similar to the roles of all other manmade robots.

Linda Takahashi

American-born New Yorker Linda Johnson has been fascinated with robotic machines since she was a teenager, when her father, a surgeon, would introduce to her the machines that he used to perform keyhole surgeries. This interest led her to pursue a tech degree at the University of Washington, where she met Sota Takahashi. They married and now have two children. Linda’s father developed dementia later on and was given a robot pet as a companion. She saw how much having a robot pet friend helped her father, which is what led her to create this website and advocate to spread word about robot pets and how they can help both children and the elderly.

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