While robot / human relations seem to be fairly solid at the moment, it looks like the fight has long since been on between canines and their robotic counterparts. Some researchers at Saint Louis University compared Sony's AIBO with a mutt named Sparky at three different nursing homes, to see how residents would respond. Maybe Sparky just isn't that affable, but the researchers found that AIBO and his living breathing competition were both equally successful in alleviating loneliness. AIBO also has the added advantage of, erm, cleanliness, and is easier for senior citizens to take care of, so it looks like Sparky is pretty much out of a job. Get used to it, buddy, it's called outsourcing.

[Via Tech Digest]