Robot Nanny Makes Poor Role Model For Children

Robot nannies may be a functional, but they would make poor role models, according to UK scientists. Consider the PaPeRo robot, one example of the new childcare robots.


(PaPeRo robot nanny)

Dr. Noel Sharkey, professor of robotics at Sheffield University, understands why parents might choose robots for childcare:

"I can see the benefits of these childcare robots for busy professionals", says Sharkey. "Adults can log into the robot from the Internet or from their mobile phones. They can direct the robot and see through its cameras, they can even speak to the children through the robot's voice..."

A mechanical companion and preceptor for children is much more than just a baby monitor or other such device. He asks:

"This may be quite safe and entertaining but what kind of role model is a robot? Could this lead to a generation of social misfits? What does this say about the value placed on children in society?"

I'd add that parents are also in danger of falling under the spell of these excessively cute robots and their wide range of features is not limited to childcare; see this video of the iRobi robot childcare device from Yujin Robotics of South Korea.


(iRobi robot nanny from Yujin Robotics)

As far as I know, the earliest reference to the idea of a childcare robot is from David H. Keller's short story The Psychophonic Nurse, which appeared in Amazing Stories in 1928.

"I had her made by the Eastinghouse Electric Company. You see, she's just a machine nurse, but as she doesn't eat anything, is on duty twenty-four hours a day, and draws no salary, she's cheap at the price I paid."

"...When I ordered this machine ... I bought a phonograph with clock attachment. It will run for twenty-four hours without attention. Then I had a baby doctor work out a twenty-four hour programme of infant activity for different ages. Our baby is about two months old. You put this phonograph with the two-month record on it in the nursery... At definite periods of the twenty-four hours the phonograph will call out a number and the nurse will do what is necessary...
(Read more about the psychophonic nurse)

Readers might also remember the robot nanny from Philip K. Dick's 1955 story Nanny. The artificially intelligent Veldt from Ray Bradbury's 1951 story is the first virtual reality environment for children. And, for those of you with very small children, Keller also thought about electric diapers with built-in alarms.

Via Robot nannies threat to child care; learn more about robot nannies. Thanks to Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/11/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...' - Frederik Pohl, 1954.

Bionic Eye-Hand Combo Robot Grasps Objects On Its Own
'The crawling, exploring object was V-Stephen's surgeon-hand, a self-contained robot...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

FarmBot, Your Personal Robotic Farmer
'A robot farmer was plowing...' - Philip K. Dick, 1954.

Fukushima Plant Needs Radiation-Proof Scorpion Robots
'...with lead-bodied, radio-remote controlled androids, it's easier.' - Mari Wolf, 1952.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.