Could your next pet be a robot?

The next step in artificial intelligence technology may be robot pets, at least according to one animal welfare researcher at the University of Melbourne.

In a paper published in the latest edition of the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Dr. Jean-Loup Rault argues that, as the world becomes more populated, pets will become impractical. Those who cannot afford real pets may turn to robotic alternatives.

“It’s not a question of centuries from now,” Dr. Rault wrote in his paper. “If 10 billion human beings live on the planet in 2050 as predicted, it’s likely to occur sooner than we think. If you’d described Facebook to someone 20 years ago, they’d think you were crazy. But we are already seeing people form strong emotional bonds with robot dogs in Japan.” READ MORE.