Commentary

Would You Leave Your Grandma With A Robot?

Japan is making headway in the arena of robotic elderly care. That's not taking care of rusty robots, but robots taking care of senior citizens.

Because Japan's population is aging faster than it's reproducing, there aren't enough people to provide geriatric care. Researchers and scientists are hoping to stem the manpower shortage by substituting humans with robots.

So what's in development?

A robot that will help read e-mail and surf the Internet for seniors who can no longer type or see their computer screen; a robotic nurse that can lift the feeble, and a robotic suit named HAL (for Hybrid Assisted Lymb) that may help seniors, who can barely walk, regain mobility.

What's coming soon to a mall near you?

Paro, a robotic seal designed to stimulate lonely senior citizens who lack human contact and can no longer care for a real pet.

And what are the downsides, you ask?

One: These are robots, not humans! Imagine leaving your grandparent in the care of a feeling-less machine.

Two: They're expensive. The robotic seal is nearly 4000 bucks.

Three: Naming something after the 13th greatest film villain of all time is never a good move.

If you're like me and are fascinated by robots, check out this Current TV documentary: Robot Nation.

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