Robots to be carers in the future!

Robots as carersLoneliness and social isolation are problems for many seniors, but studies have shown that help could come from social robots – autonomous robots trained to interact and communicate with humans.

One recent survey found that while 68 per cent of people agree robots are beneficial because they can help people, only 26 per cent surveyed said they’d be comfortable with a robot providing help and companionship for them if they were in hospital or care. Commentators in the media have also echoed these concerns, with some even arguing that robots can’t provide those living in care with the empathy and altruism that human caregivers do.

Loneliness and social isolation are already problems for many seniors and are even linked to cognitive decline and a higher death rate. With the population of seniors expected to rise, many worry that experiences of loneliness will increase, especially if access to care is even more limited.

But despite concerns, early studies already show that social robots – autonomous robots trained to interact and communicate with humans – really could address issues of care and social interaction. The majority of robotics researchers are largely in favour of introducing robotic technology on a wider scale and believe it could reduce loneliness and increase independence in elderly patients. The Japanese government even supports introducing robots in care homes to solve the country’s ageing population problem. However, many strongly recommend carefully balancing the care benefits against the ethical costs.

For more on this story visit the Independent website.