The second part of the Reading Task 3
You are going to read an article about pets in the digital age. For questions 1-4 below, choose the correct answer which you think fits best based on the text.
The full text you can read here.
Pets are common in Western cultures and on the rise in Asia. Yet, it is difficult to imagine how more than half of the 9.6 billion people of 2050 could still keep pets. Efforts to develop cities designed to be green and pet-friendly are ongoing. However, a more realistic future is that pets may become luxury possessions for people who can afford to sustain the costs and fulfil their needs in terms of space, social, and mental needs, based on possibly higher ethical standards demanded by future societies.

The last option is the most intriguing, suggesting that technologies could allow us to replace animals as pets. The Tamagotchi, a handheld egg with a digital screen that one had to feed and take care of was the forerunner of the artificial pet movement in 1996. The idea behind its basic design was that physical appearance was not as important as the personal relationship with the owner. Recent research is focusing on identifying the features required by social robots to simulate live interactions, coming up with more realistic robotic animal designs. Overall, robotic pets appear to elicit similar responses from humans as live pets, but it is unclear whether they stimulate identical responses and replace that need for a pet.

There are also attempts to computer-simulate interactions with a pet, similar to online human social interactions. Potentially, virtual reality can fulfil all aspects of human-animal interaction apart from physical contact. However, several aspects still differ between today’s virtual and robotic pets compared to live pets as the responsibility that we feel for each may differ. It also remains challenging to simulate the natural unpredictability of interacting with a live animal.

Artificial pet development and the underlying research remains in its infancy with much to be discovered. At present, artificial pets can be described as poor substitutes for their live counterparts. Yet, quick technological progress is to be expected, and this phenomenon raises many questions. Do animals make us human? Or are we witnessing a leap into what domestication always was: the selection of animals to be the perfect pets with a need to update the definition of pets as an animal or an artificial device? "Let the future tell the truth," to quote futuristic scientist Nikola Tesla.
(Adapted from Rault J-L (2015) Pets in the Digital Age: Live, Robot, or Virtual? Front Vet Sci.)
1. Why are virtual pets being developed?
2. Which is a more likely development, according to paragraph 1?
3. Why did the Tamagotchi have a simple design?
4. What does the author suggest in the final paragraph?
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