The Carebot Conundrum

Check out a recent  New York Times article on an experiment with Zora the carebot in French nursing homes.  If she were my nurse I would ask her how she got her name, and she would probably explain it was generated by her friend Algorithm. Likewise her design–innocently small and androgynously lovable. You can kiss her!

The epicenter of carebots for the elderly is Japan, where the population is aging and labor is scarce. A great  piece on this topic in  The Guardian features an expert explaining that the poor little creatures may meet “psychological resistance.”

I am so much in favor of good care technology, but the risk of bad technology seems to be growing. I really like Sherry Turkle’s book, Alone Together. When she researched nursing homes that were applying state-of-the-art technology,  she found residents incredibly eager to talk with her, because they were…starved for human conversation. The subtitle of her book sums it all up: “why we expect more from technology and less from each other.”

Meanwhile, I just learned that the 4th International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots has been postponed, but is currently scheduled for Las Vegas in January 2020. According to the sponsoring website, “the past few years have witnessed a strong upsurge of interest in the more personal aspects of human relationships with these artificial partners.”

 

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