A Japanese research group consisting of University of Tokyo and Toyota Motor Company invented a robot that can perform household tasks at home. This robot can complete daily tasks including laundry, carrying dishes on the tray, or cleaning.
According to the researchers, they developed this robot to help elders who live alone. Users can program this robot to perform certain tasks in advance, so that necessary daily household tasks can be completed for them.
It is projected that this robot will be available for commercial use in ten years with more sophisticated functions, and the price will be about $10,000.
When I saw this press release, I was a bit worried about the future prospects of elder care in Japan.
Although we need help to complete our daily tasks in order to age in place, we need much more than that to feel our life is worth living. What we need can be as simple as having a cup of coffee with others once in a while. This robot can serve a cup of coffee for me, but it cannot replace the person who sits in front of me and chats with me. (I do not think that I would enjoy talking to a robot every day…)
This robot is a great invention from a functional point of view, yet we should also be mindful about meeting elders’ “emotional needs.”
Can anyone develop a “meaningful relationship” with a robot?