Why robot nannies probably won’t do much psychological damage

While the issue of robot child care is obviously of critical importance, an appraisal will not benefit either the field or society if it unrealistically exaggerates a threat, any more so than if it unrealistically trivialises danger. Thus while I largely concur with Sharkey and Sharkey (hereafter S&S) on many substantial and important points, I…

Perception, Imagination and Affect in Human–Robot Relationships

As they arrive in our homes, nursing facilities and educational institutions, urgent questions are being asked about the ethics of encouraging people to have feelings towards social robots that have roles as companions, carers and teachers. This article suggests that the quality of these debates is enhanced by examining how people perceive robots and, in…

Interaction Expands Function: Social Shaping of the Therapeutic Robot PARO in a Nursing Home

We use the social shaping of technology and society framework to qualitatively analyze data collected through observation of human-robot interaction (HRI) between social actors in a nursing home (staff, residents, visitors) and the socially assistive robot PARO. The study took place over the course of three months, during which PARO was placed in a publicly…

Teach Me Show Me End-User Personalization of a Smart Home and Companion Robot

Care issues and costs associated with an increasing elderly population are becoming a major concern for many countries. The use of assistive robots in “smart-home” environments has been suggested as a possible partial solution to these concerns. A challenge is the personalization of the robot to meet the changing needs of the elderly person over…