In Japan a funeral with a priest chanting a sutra for Sony’s old generation AIBO robot dogs
The robot dogs lined up in their dozens Thursday in Japan were no tech fair display. They were the dearly departed being honoured with their own traditional “funeral.” In some respects, it was a funeral like any other in Japan, with incense smoke wafting as a priest chanted a sutra, praying for the peaceful transition of the souls of the departed. But the departed were 114 of Sony’s old generations of AIBO robot dogs, each wearing a tag to show where they came from and to which family they belonged.
Electronics repair company A FUN, which specialises in fixing vintage products, has sent off some 800 AIBOs this way in recent years at a centuries-old Buddhist temple. With the AIBO no longer in production, owners of old or “dead” robodogs often send them to the company, the only way it can obtain genuine parts to use in repairs. The defunct dogs serve as the equivalent of organ donors for defective robots, but before they are put to use, the company honours them with a traditional send-off. The dogs often arrive with letters that give their names, how they spent their lives, and other details.
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