If people can get emotional about content, why should we be surprised about emotional connections with robots that have life like features and voices? Hasbro's robotic cat that keeps Alzheimer patients company is a micro example of how AI can be social and part of everyday life.
Here's my SIL's robot cat- whom she claims calms her down, doesn't come with vet bills and has a lifetime renewable by batteries. And here's another NYT journalist who agrees with her on the soothing qualities of robocats.
As we step into the post-real era, there are a growing number of industry reports on how artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to replace human labor. The Obama Administration's report on the topic noted a broad range (nine to 47 percent) of the US labor force can be threatened by AI -- especially if new jobs are not created at similar or higher rates than lost jobs. Spreading news of his latest AI-based initiative, Neuralink, Elon Musk even professes that digital super intelligence will surpass that of humans and take over.
Ultimately institutions look for efficiency - AI will take over in cases where it's cheaper than the real life alternative.