The Tamagotchi-Effect refers to the tendency of humans to easily see emotions in and form attachment to even simple robots and software agents. I wrote about it before, focusing on how I believe this acceptance of emotion in robots will become a generation gap, something where we won't understand our children/grandchildren. Now there is a great article in the Washington Post about how the Tamagotchi-Effect works even in the military (short excerpt below, but read the whole thing):
Finally it was down to one leg. Still, it pulled itself forward. Tilden was ecstatic. The machine was working splendidly.
The human in command of the exercise, however -- an Army colonel -- blew a fuse. The colonel ordered the test stopped.
Why? asked Tilden. What's wrong? The colonel just could not stand the pathos of watching the burned, scarred and crippled machine drag itself forward on its last leg. This test, he charged, was inhumane.