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Sunday
Nov292009

Pets of the Year 2000 As Living Robots (1974)

Most people of the 20th century imagined humanoid robots as the domestic servants of the future. But one curious article from the March 1, 1974 Record-Eagle (Traverse City, MI) described the year 2000 as a world of cyborg Fidos awaiting your next command; be it closing the window, or bombing an insurgent hideout. 

LONDON (UPI) -- The programming of family pets to perform various tasks and various deeds, good or evil as required, may be fairly common practice by the year 2000, according to an American psychologist.

Dr. Boris Levinson of Touro College in New York, a specialist on relationships between people and animals, said that by the end of the century pets controlled by brain electrodes may become commonplace. Recent experiments make this a strong probability, he said.

"it does not lie in the realm of science fiction," Dr. Levinson told a symposium organized by the British Small Animals' Veterinary Association. "In a sense the electrodes will make the animals become living robots. They will be able to open doors, close windows, adjust beds and even call for help."

He said pets could even be used for warfare and for espionage and if the knowledge of genetic engineering involved fell into the hands of insurgent groups they could be employed in bombings and in plane hijackings. Criminals might use them in the commission of theft, robbery and even murder.

But he said most pets would play a highly beneficial role in society -- "a very important safety valve in a sick society" -- as specially trained companions to invalids, old people, childless couples and even astronauts.

Dr. Levinson's remarks brought quick reactions in this nation of animal lovers. A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal lovers described "exploitation" of pets as reprehensible. 

Dr. Levinson pointed out that dogs had been used as living bombs in the Russo-German fighting in World War II an he was stating the possibilities.

"We can already implant minute electrodes into animals' brains to make them placid, angry or to stop them attacking," he said. "It is only a matter of time before electrodes can be implanted into every part of the brain to make them do whatever we wish."

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

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Reader Comments (8)

I love your blog, and rarely comment.
Just gotta say I can see why animal lovers thought Levinson was a sicko.
And yet another great post, glad this one has not come to pass.

November 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Collins

This has come to pass, although not to the extent Levinson envisioned; I think most pet owners would still find the idea abhorrent. But see here for an example.

November 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNemo

Well thats great in fact this is very interesting, i liked reading it. God forbid we get those days when we can just command and our robots can just do it for us. Wow that would be lovely.

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November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHoly

Can you please send me the name of this sites style? r is it custom?

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Woods

Dr. Levinson pointed out that dogs had been used as living bombs in the Russo-German fighting in World War II

That is true. The Soviets trained dogs to associate the undersides of tanks with food. Then they strapped time bombs to the dogs and set them after the Nazis, backed by a tank assault.

But they hadn't trained the dogs under enemy fire, so the terrified dogs ran to the safest place they could find--the place they associated with food, the undersides of Russian tanks. The dog suicide bombers did work well at destroying tanks, and the Soviets were forced into retreat, leaving dozens of their tanks behind as burning wreckage.

Nice example there, Dr. Levinson!

December 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBill the Splut

"They will be able to open doors, close windows, adjust beds and even call for help."

While he can't adjust beds, my dog can open (and close) doors, fetch the phone for me to use as I like, find the TV remote and bring it to me and fetch run-away dogs. He also carries laundry, baskets of eggs, groceries, garden hoses and more.

And the boy is just a meat and bones organic model.

The piece the futurists missed was that, at least with respect to dogs, we'd be able to accomplish so much of this just by trainng.

December 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSmartDogs

There now exist robots that vacuum our floors, challenge us with human like behavior in video games, guard against swimming pool drowning, respond to our voice commands in some automobile models, and provide us with directory assistance and, perhaps more often than we like, guide us through voice mail procedures.Even the name is changing.Now a day comes when we just have to speak and they will do everything.Good post!Keep up posting.


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December 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterslimming tablets

Thank goodness this never happened as robots will never take the place of pets. The closest thing this theory came to is the pet robo dog.

dog boarding cleveland

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStefano

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