Gransnet forums


I don't want a robot friend

(67 Posts)
annep1 Tue 08-Sep-20 02:30:25

Just wondering if anyone has views on this. My daughter sent me the link. She is shocked at the idea. I find it depressing.

Grannynannywanny Tue 08-Sep-20 08:17:18

I saw this on the news yesterday evening. The elderly man chatting to the robot did appear to be enjoying it. But he wasn’t showing any obvious signs of dementia. I suspect it would receive a mixed reaction and some residents might find it frightening.
I think the £19k plus maintenance costs could be spent on something more beneficial. That money could employ 2 part time activities coordinators who could provide enjoyable and stimulating activities such as reminisce therapy, arts and crafts, tea dances etc
I have a loved one in a care home and the activities coordinators are wonderful.

25Avalon Tue 08-Sep-20 08:34:54

Have you read “Origin” by Dan Brown? The super computer in that makes you feel it’s human - the future of AI.

Having something to talk to seems to be better than nothing but so sad if that’s all there is.

M0nica Tue 08-Sep-20 08:37:03

What older lonely people need is company; real, warm, friendly and caring people who can visit them respond with faces and body language that express emotions of every kind and with a warm touch.

I think this idea shows how morally bankrupt we are, that we have reached a stage where old people can be given a lump of machinery - for what else is a robot - carefully programmed to reflect your interests instead what you really need and that is the company of warm sentient beings and to be incorporated back into ordinary everyday life.

sodapop Tue 08-Sep-20 08:50:09

I agree MOnica and not just older people,there are lonely people of all age groups who would like human companionship.
It's a lot of money which could be better spent in my opinion.

Furret Tue 08-Sep-20 08:53:18

So why are we all on here?

growstuff Tue 08-Sep-20 08:56:18

We're communicating with what we hope are other real human beings in front of their screens.

Grannynannywanny Tue 08-Sep-20 09:01:01

What older lonely people need is company; real, warm, friendly and caring people who can visit them respond with faces and body language that express emotions of every kind and with a warm touch

Absolutely M0nica. It’s heartbreaking for all concerned that it’s precisely all of that they’ve been denied since March due to covid restrictions. Despite the best efforts of care staff who are doing their best under very difficult circumstances, the decline in their mental state due to lack of family contact is obvious. Standing outside the window while wearing a mask and attempting to hold a conversation through a small gap in the window is heartbreaking.

jenwren Tue 08-Sep-20 09:32:30

Agree with everything you have said MOnica

jenwren Tue 08-Sep-20 09:34:40

So this is what I have to look forward too? Lets my family off the hook for paying a visit mmm.

grannygranby Tue 08-Sep-20 09:37:43

I think ferrets on to something is it furret? Spell check is getting cross. I think it is a lot more complex than many assume. A lot of friends and family have died not available ( let alone covid-19) and is it better to have a human who is acting out because it makes them feel strong and good? Wouldn’t a compassionate intelligently programmed listener be more rewarding? And if we really cared about the emotional well being and happiness of many old people we would allow them to have dogs in homes.

TerryM Tue 08-Sep-20 09:38:16

At mum's nursing home they had an electronic cat. It is flipping expensive . It was also wonderful for mum and others who had dementia. Mum could talk to it , stroke it , drop it all without issue. It made mum so happy when the "cat" visited her. It was quite lifelike.

seadragon Tue 08-Sep-20 09:39:35

As a teenager, I worked as a summer relief in our excellent psychiatric hospital. I often worked on the so-called 'geriatric' wards of which there were many in those days. I loved that part of the job as much as the acute wards , learning the history of the individuals who lived there, helping them get washed and dressed and live there lives to the best level that they could. I felt fulfilled walked the 3 miles to work everyday smiling. I considered training as a psych nurse but took a different path in the end. I worry that our increasing devotion to screens - mine too! - will mean that many of our young people will not have the confidence formed by regular interaction with others, to give themselves a chance to explore this supremely rewarding career path as an option for themselves.

TrendyNannie6 Tue 08-Sep-20 09:41:28

Agree with monica

annifrance Tue 08-Sep-20 09:42:50

ssaid it all Monica

Davida1968 Tue 08-Sep-20 09:49:21

TerryM I love the idea of an electronic cat: my mum (in her 90s, has dementia, and lives in a care-home) would love this. In the current pandemic I think a "human" robot companion could be a real boon as well. With the best will in the world, the over-stretched care workers can't give her hours of companionship and visitors aren't allowed.

Kartush Tue 08-Sep-20 09:51:41

I want one it looks cute as

lovebeigecardigans1955 Tue 08-Sep-20 09:54:16

I can see pros and cons. A robot friend is better than no friend at all and if it provides intelligent conversation where's the harm? Yet it's a bit sad if it's a substitute for real people.

OTOH could it be programmed to summon help if there is no response from the human (or any other emergency situation?) My late MIL may have found the conversation a benefit as she loved company all the time which her family couldn't provide. I find it difficult to get my head round the fact that it's a machine instead of a person but is it any worse than a machine in ICU for instance?

Tanjamaltija Tue 08-Sep-20 09:55:17

Hadn't you heard of ELIZA? Also, there is a programme that acts like a Confessional - it picks up words and asks about them, and changes tack when you do. I tried confusing it... and I managed to! But then, I taught Kindergarten, so it was easy!

henetha Tue 08-Sep-20 09:55:20

My best friend moved yesterday to live 200 miles away.
I'm going to miss her.
Could I replace her with a robot? I don't think so.

polnan Tue 08-Sep-20 10:02:28

sadness oozing out of me..

what I query with these robots,,, what happens to the humans? we are already overpopulated with humans..
now what is the name of that film..??

begins with an S.... I can never remember the name,, I will come back....

meanwhile tell me,, anyone,, robots doing all the humans work,,, what happens to humans? we are superfluous...

polnan Tue 08-Sep-20 10:04:52

I did a web search

Soylent Green,

anyone watched that... if not go watch! need a strong stomach or mind!

Philippa111 Tue 08-Sep-20 10:06:56

jenwren, Isn't it a shame that we have this idea of being a burden our families have to visit and they will be delighted to not have to do it. I think your family might be shocked that you think that but I'm sure many think that way. In our culture there is no time or respect for us as older people. We have lived through much, worked hard, grown as people etc. In Eastern cultures older people are seen as valuable and their wisdom is often sought out by the younger generations. When I was in India young people I met tried to touch my feet... a gesture of respect for older people. Here the government will just see me as a burden on resources .....and the sooner I die the less they will need to spend!

sandelf Tue 08-Sep-20 10:12:17

We need to put more effort into learning how to remain healthy, so when the end comes it is fast. (I hope).

Shandy57 Tue 08-Sep-20 10:14:55

I was horrified to see the robot in the care home, what a sad society we have become that a machine has to be purchased to entertain humans.