WIRED: I wanted to talk about navigating relationships with home or companion robots, especially when it comes to empathy and actually developing pretty complex relationships. What can we learn from what we’ve been doing for thousands of years with pets?

KD: One of the things that we’ve learned by looking at the history of pets and other emotional relationships we’ve developed with animals is that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with it—which is something that people often leap to immediately with robots. They’re immediately like, “It’s wrong. It’s fake. It’s going to take away from human relationships.” So I think that comparing robots to animals is an immediate conversation-shifter, where people are like, “If it’s more like a pet rabbit, then maybe it’s not going to take away my child’s friends.”

One of the other things we’ve learned is that animals, even in the companionship realm, are actually really useful in…

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