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 ")

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...' HG Wells, 1898.

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...' - Henry Slesar, 1958.

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...' - Harry Harrison, 1958.

 

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

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'

Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.

Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'

A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'

First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’

Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.

Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

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.