It seems we humans have the ability to anthropomorphize (assign human feelings to) just about everything. That we do this with our pets is easy to understand. My family even manages to do it with vegetables. But machines? Evidently, according to as article in Live Science about studies that show robots can manipulate the emotions of humans that interact with them.
That’s understandable when the robot is a cute, cuddly Furby or an Aibo. What is surprising is how even battle-hardened soldiers develop attachments to the robots that they works with.
One EOD soldier brought in a robot for repairs with tears in his eyes and asked the repair shop if it could put “Scooby-Doo” back together. Despite being assured that he would get a new robot, the soldier remained inconsolable. He only wanted Scooby-Doo.
It’s ironic, considering that many of these robots exist so that our soldiers don’t have to put themselves at risk. Yet there have been reports of soldiers rescuing their damaged robotic comrades while under heavy fire. Some units give their robots promotions, medals, and military funerals.
You can bet this is going to make it into one of my novels some day.