As Japan produces fewer children and more retirees, toymakers are designing new dolls designed not for the young but for the lonely elderly -- companions which can sleep next to them and offer caring words they may never hear otherwise.
Talking toys have become such a hit that some elderly people have embraced them as substitutes for the children who have grown old and deserted entire neighborhoods in the rapidly greying country.
. . .
"Thank you for giving me a heart-warming baby. I'm no longer alone," an 82-year-old woman wrote while another senior woman said she was raising the doll "as my own child".
. . .
The robot's maker Dream Supply said the Snuggling Ifbot had the conversation ability of a five-year-old -- considered just enough for small talk to keep the elderly from going senile.
What does it mean to love a machine?
We can program them to be what we want.
The toy will never forget us.
But we forget it.
No need to worry about finding it a home for
. . . afterwards.
It has no soul.
Cast it aside.