Their deft fingers—which once crafted circuit boards for autonomous airships—were perfect not only for handling the animals, but also for bagging their poop with minimal mess.
Our AIs were intelligent but not empathic. We wanted to teach them to be more human. We tried giving them pets. We started small. Once we saw they could learn to keep a goldfish alive, we moved on to hamsters. Then cats and dogs. It was hugely successful: the AIs learned to relate better to people, and the pets liked it too. The AIs never got bored, never got tired, never forgot to clean the litter box, never became distracted. Every moment they spent with their pets was quality time.
That's when we realized the project was teaching us to be better people.