Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Robots helping the elderly, or scaring them?

Japan is facing a shrinking population and a growing percentage of elderly in its country. That might mean there won't be enough people in the workforce.

But Japan has an idea:

Caregivers would save more than an hour a day if robots helped look after children, older people and did some housework. ... Robotic duties could include reading books out loud or helping bathe the elderly.

Wait. Robots helping the elderly?

I'm not sure how some people might feel about this. Remember the Saturday Night Live commercial parody that featured an insurance company offering Robot Attack Insurance?

If you don't, here's the commercial. It's a classic, especially because SNL pulled in distinguished actor Sam Waterston as "compensated endorser."

And of course the great warning at the end:

"People who deny the existence of robots may be robots themselves."