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 ")

'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.

Pooper Scooper Drone Robot Watchdog 1
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk...' - Harry Harrison, 1956.

Cassie Robot Brings AT-ST Walker To Life
There's even a log test!

Hundreds Of Robot Lawnmowers Invade Texas Town
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself...' - Clifford Simak, 1944.

 

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

Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...'

Project KOVR Fashion Protection From Infosphere
'... the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond.'

Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'

'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.

Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'

Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.'

Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In
'That barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...

Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

DxtER! Tricorder Prize Won By Final Frontier Medical Devices
We've been waiting a long time for this, Star Trek fans.

President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'

Pickup Lines From Artificial Intelligences
'They hate us, you know... The humans. They'll stop at nothing.'

Pooper Scooper Drone Robot Watchdog 1
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk...'

Cassie Robot Brings AT-ST Walker To Life
There's even a log test!

Hundreds Of Robot Lawnmowers Invade Texas Town
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself...'

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.