May 7, 2015

Pets in the digital age: live, robot, or virtual?

(May 7, 2015) Over half the people in Western societies share their daily life with pets, which makes it the norm rather than the exception. Our shared history with domestic animals goes back tens of thousands years. However, technological advances in the last decades – computer, internet, social media – revolutionized our means of communication, and particularly our social lives. A legitimate but tacit question is whether this technological evolution will also change human–animal relationships, and concurrently, the place of pets in human societies. Pet ownership in its current form is likely unsustainable in a growing, urbanized population. Digital technologies have quickly revolutionized human communication and social relationships, and logically could tackle human–animal relati onships as well. The question is whether these new technologies actually represent the future of pet ownership, helping tackle its sustainability while solving animal welfare issues.

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