Recently I read in the newspaper that inhabitants of elderly homes are complaining that nurses and other caretakers are talking in a childish way to them. As if they don’t understand, have hearing impairments or have gone childish again.
I expect that within ten years time there will be care droids in homes and hospitals and annoyances like these will be solved.
Care droids are robots that can perform certain tasks that are currently taken care of by nurses, like washing people. The robots will be equipped with a screen for facial expressions. That way care droids can respond emphatically to the patient or the elderly person. I imagine they will smile to someone who undresses quickly enough and they will frown – with thick knitted eyebrows – trying to manipulate someone who is a bit slow or doesn’t want to undress.
Personally, I think I don’t mind being washed robotically. What I do mind is the fake empathy of the care droid. Don’t make me talk to a toy butt washing machine, please. I would rather have a scientist coming up with a human car wash method, where persons are to be lined up within a cabin for each individual. No menacing looks from a robot, thank you very much.
However, there might be a pleasant aspect about having a care droid taking care of someone. Like the talking in a childish way, I mentioned. If you don’t want that, it will be programmed that it won’t. But if the Alzheimer have set in, it might talk that way if the patient prefers it. These things can all be personalized to everyone’s individual wishes.
And I suppose it can be possible to upload some nice faces for the robots. There could even be an upgrade to your toy assistant if you are willing to pay. Let this George Clooney face talk to me smoothly because I hand it the soap. And perhaps this George Clooney feature can be an free option, but as an advertorial in disguise. That could mean that after every shower he might suggest having a cup of coffee.
If I happen to end up in a home or a hospital and there are care droids, of course it will be Tom Hanks bringing me parcels and such stuff, telling me: ‘You’ve got mail.’
I am still unsure if I want to have George Clooney to give me my daily scrub. But wouldn’t it be great to have a twerking Miley Cyrus to be my cleaning lady going around with the vacuum cleaner?
Here you can find my article about Miley Cyrus.
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This post is also available in: Dutch