Could a robot take care of us when were old?

Robot & Frank

Watched Robot & Frank… and thought about the elderly care crisis.

A delightful dramatic comedy, a buddy picture, and, for good measure, a heist film. Curmudgeonly old Frank lives by himself. His routine involves daily visits to his local library, where he has a twinkle in his eye for the librarian. His grown children are concerned about their father’s well-being and buy him a caretaker robot. Initially resistant to the idea, Frank soon appreciates the benefits of robotic support – like nutritious meals and a clean house – and eventually begins to treat his robot like a true companion. With his robot’s assistance, Frank’s passion for his old, unlawful profession is reignited, for better or worse.

Its certainly something you might prefer to watch at home than in the cinema but its a really lovely story… And reminds me of something I saw a while ago on about how the ageing population could be the key to domestic robots.

Also got me remembering the only real contact I’ve had with domestic robots. Although the Pleo autospy was slightly distressing to see.

Pleo Autopsy video from Makerfaire

Pleo is one of those super hightech toys which people seem to love or hate. It draws a lot of attention because its beautifully life like. But how would you feel if you saw Pleo taken a part by a maker? There’s a manifesto which makers always quote,

If you can’t open it, you don’t own it

That might be the case, but its a little freaky watching the poor Pleo stripped of its skin. Now to be fair the Pleo was half working anyway but to see it lying there with its eyes looking out across the camera, is almost too much to bear.

I remember a long time ago when I was at an event in London and some jurk comes on stage and flying kicks a Aibo off the stage. He shouted, its not real as the crowd all held there mouths gasping. It was certainly one way to start a debate about humans putting there feelings onto objects. A very interesting debate which I can’t help remember after seeing this video. Thanks Elin Roberts for posting it.