They've Built Robots That Know How to Play With People's Emotions
Although human emotions are undeniably complicated, tricking them with technology turns out to be much easier than you might expect. Researchers are currently finding that it's possible to force humans to become emotionally attached to virtually anything, just as long as they believe, consciously or otherwise, that the thing in question has agency. In case you're not familiar with the term, "agency" is a fancy way of saying "the capacity to do things" -- to love or to change -- and even if the object isn't truly capable of those things, we'll still connect with it as long as we believe its agency to be true.
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Thus explaining why Spencer Pratt's parents haven't smothered him in his sleep.
You see, human minds separate the stuff they encounter into two groups: objects, such as cups, teaspoons, and sex toys; and agents, such as cats, people, and other living things. And while some of us may grow pretty attached to our sex toys, we generally don't feel that they're worth our affection. Robots should fall into that same group -- seeing as how they're made of wires and metal and plastic -- but it turns out that all it takes to prove this false is a little creative programming and some strategic fluffiness.
Enter Paro -- the robot designed to look like a baby seal that's specifically created to manipulate the emotions of people in isolated situations (Alzheimer's sufferers, for instance):
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Don't let the eyes fool you -- he feasts on human souls.