Robots, androids, and my future nursing home experiences
My wife is Korean, so I have a long-standing interest and appreciation for Korean culture, but I'm willing to admit that I'm weirded out by that country's non-chalant usage of labor-delivery robots. What else might this culture be willing use robots for -- perhaps High School sex education? (No thanks.) It seems a small step though.
Apparently, I'm becoming unavoidably conservative in my old age. But that's okay, for there will be another kind of Japanese robot, Repliee (picture above), to spend time with me when I'm crotchety and senile:
She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner. She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.
It's a bit eerie for me to watch these developments in robotics coming along so quickly. Perhaps I won't like being around robots. What then? On the other hand, I certainly recognize how, someday, I'll eventually need yet a third robot to carry me to the bathroom. Sigh.
 "Robot births help Seoul students" Reuters (Accessed 1/8/2006)
"Japanese develop 'female' android" BBC News (Accessed 1/8/2006)
 "Repliee Q2" Google Video (Accessed 1/8/2006) and 2.5 minutes into this: "Presentation of Repliee Q2- ROBORAMA.info" Google Video (Accessed 1/8/2006)