"Dead" robot dogs can now get a proper Buddhist funeral
Losing a pet is hard on anyone, especially if it happens to be a dog that's been your best friend for over 15 years. And yes, this is true even for owners of AIBOs, the world's first robotic dogs. These owners just recently held a collective Buddhist funeral for the no-longer-working robots.
AIBO, a robotic dog created by Sony Corporation in Japan, became a cultural phenomenon when it was released in 1999. Costing over 200,000 yen, which is about 1680 US dollars in today's money, these dogs were sold out in 20 minutes, going home to households to be cared for, loved, and treated as if they were real pets. Unfortunately, Sony discontinued manufacturing AIBO after 2006 in order to focus on other business areas, and in 2014, they announced they would no longer be making repairs or offering spare parts for the once-popular dogs. Because of this, AIBO owners could only sit back and watch helplessly as their beloved robotic pets basically stopped working, akin to a real pet slowly dying from a terminal illness.
To move on once and for all, distraught AIBO owners held a collective funeral at Kōfuku-ji, one of the most historic Buddhist temples in the ancient city of Nara. The mood at the funeral was said to be like any other, with owners quietly sitting through the ceremony as the monk chanted verses and burned incense.
Distraught owners left behind by AIBO
Watch Lee Joon and Go Ah Sung as teenage lovers who face an unexpected pregnancy in the dark comedy Heard It through the Grapevine:
Goodbye my friend