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Author Topic: No, robot: Japan's elderly fail to welcome their robot overlords  (Read 1275 times)
app103
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« on: February 09, 2011, 03:41:01 PM »

Quote
In Japan robots are friendly helpers not Terminators.

So when they join the workforce, as they do often in factories, they are sometimes welcomed on their first day with Shinto religious ceremonies.

But whether the sick and elderly will be as welcoming to robot-like tech in their homes is a question that now vexes a Japanese care industry that is struggling with a massive manpower shortage.

Automated help in the home and hospitals, believe some, could be the answer. A rapidly ageing first world is also paying close attention to Japan's dalliance with automated care.

It wants to know whether it can construct the nursing-care and medical-care needed in a future with fewer younger people to take care of the elderly. Japan could show us how.

[...]

The country's biggest robot maker Tmsuk created a life-like one-metre tall robot six years ago, but has struggled to find interested clients.

Costing a cool $100,000 (£62,000) a piece, a rental programme was scrapped recently because of "failing to meet demands of consumers" and putting off patients at hospitals.

"We want humans caring for us, not machines," was one response.


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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 04:52:06 PM »

That's a rather disturbingly stupid idea. Robots perform functions, they can't "care"...They can't even feel. Trying to warehouse the elderly in that fashion is simply appalling.
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Eóin
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2011, 05:19:57 PM »

But is a robot which can help with some physical chores not better than no one at all?

Japans population is ageing, the birth rate is far too low there. There might simply not be enough people in the future to look after the elderly.
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app103
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 05:29:09 PM »

When you need 200 workers but only have 100, either the workers will have to do twice as much work in the same amount of time, or patient care will suffer.

I do not see a reason why a hospital can't use robots for some of that care.

If one of the tasks that needs to be done is someone going from room to room, collecting up empty water pitchers and replacing them with new full ones, does it matter if a caring human does it or a robot? I say let the robot do it...it's better than leaving patients thirsty while they wait on a worker that doesn't have enough time to get to it between other tasks.

If a worker can be assisted by a robot...the robot lifting a patient while a worker changes the sheets, it could allow them to make many more beds than the currently widely used method of rolling a patient to one side, making half the bed, then rolling the patient to the other side to make the other half, then rolling them back. And with a worker shortage, you need to minimize the risk of injury to your workers, otherwise the shortage problem is worse. Why risk the chance of a worker injuring themselves with pulled or strained muscles from moving patients, if you don't have to?

And how about letting the elderly stay at home longer? There are plenty that wouldn't need to go to hospitals so soon, if there was some way that would allow them to stay where they are. My grandmother would have loved to have a robot to be there when I wasn't, to pick up all the things she dropped on the floor and couldn't safely bend down to reach herself. (her dog was never too good at playing fetch)
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 05:45:12 PM »

And how about letting the elderly stay at home longer? There are plenty that wouldn't need to go to hospitals so soon, if there was some way that would allow them to stay where they are. My grandmother would have loved to have a robot to be there when I wasn't, to pick up all the things she dropped on the floor and couldn't safely bend down to reach herself. (her dog was never too good at playing fetch)

That is more the direction I was going (or meant to). It just seems that we have become a disposable society to such an extent, that we now are looking for ways to (justify) disposing of (inconveniently lingering family members) each other.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2011, 10:45:23 PM »

Serious topic but I can't help but seeing Rosie in her little apron pushing a vacuum around!

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
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