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 ")

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...' - JG Ballard, 1962.

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day. Speaking as someone who as done this, I welcome robots.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

 

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

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

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.