"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 9 July 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.

When Sony Electronics introduced the cutesy robotic puppy Aibo in June, technophiles in 24 time zones began foaming at their proverbial muzzles. The initial Aibo production run sold out in 20 minutes, and the cyberpet has generated more piles of hype than you can pick up with a 20-GB PooperScooper. Billed as the first entry in Sony's new "entertainment robot" category, Aibo (Artificial Intelligence + robot) isn't the kind of best-friend droid you'll find serving drinks and exclaiming, "Woof, woof! Hello! I'm Rags!" at your next poolside cocktail party. No sir, this metallic bundle of four-legged joy stays focused on one thing only: mimicking the behavior of domesticated animals with an occasionally eerie accuracy. At US$2,500, he's by no means cheap; but for Visa Platinum–wielding twentysomethings who crave commitment-free friendship, the appeal of a lifelike pet that never gets sick, sheds, eats, or needs a nightly walk is undeniable. And after the success of Aibo, we're expecting to see a zooful of imitators, coming soon to a galleria near you.


Next ... Stroke the cyberpussy!
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