I saw this today and thought this was kind of funny, especially since I this morning was reading in-world the message sent to the Milk N Kookies group about one of the topics for their 5 September 2009 show – SL avatar bots that you can rent as your personal friends or pets. I don’t remember all the details, but basically the deal is you can go to a vendor to rent an avatar bot of some sort that can be interacted and conversed with. The bots are probably using some form of artificial intelligence (AI) chat. Do a web search on “AI chat” and you will find any number of them for which you can enter text and engage in a conversation. These have been around for years.
I am not saying there is something wrong with artificial companions. We all probably got a lot of fun, companionship, and comfort from our stuffed or other toys when we were kids. I am constantly amazed how I feel toward the sculptie bot cat that Pais has at his home. Before I cat-proofed the place by building a fence around the main area, the cat would wander into the sea or under a floor and would get stuck there for days. I would either be gone for busy and forget that he wasn’t trotting up to see me or bumping and annoying my visitors, then I would go looking for him. Normally I would find him caught in the water or something, struggling against the slope, a wall or other prim, or the border of my parcel, and I would feel a pang of sadness for the pour creature, even though I know he’s just a couple prims and a script. Some may argue a real cat is nothing but a biological machine, but thankfully most people treat them with a little kindness, too.