The difference between Paro and a real pet isn't just that a real pet may inadvertently hurt its owner. The difference is no.
Writing on io9, Esther Inglis-Arkill asks what it would take to make robots lovable. The answer she came up with is not to make the robots realistic or lifelike, but rather to make them "cute" A couple of the examples she uses include "Boxie", an experiment of the MIT media lab shown in the video above, and Paro, a robotic baby seal being used to successfully treat Alzheimer's patients. Inglis-Arkill concludesmore