nurse-robot-mviUnless someone found the Fountain of Youth and neglected to mention it, we’re all going to grow old and senile. And those darn kids that walk on the lawn are going to be all high and mighty career people, which presents a problem. Nobody is going to be there to take care of us when we’re wrinkled and cranky. Solution: robot nurses.

Nadine is a humanoid robot designed to interact with people. According to her creator, Nadine will be able to care for children and hold conversations and interact with the elderly. This is particularly relevant for dementia patients who need interaction to keep their brains moving. We may as well admit that we’re going to tell the same story three times in a row. Sometimes I do that now. The advantage of Nadine is that she won’t mind hearing that story twelve times. The technology is similar to that used to build Jia Jia, a frighteningly humanlike robot in China that can blink and make other minor facial movements according to an outside stimulus. Scary, but potentially beneficial.

One detractor, an artificial intelligence professional, claims caretaking robots are dangerous because they cannot connect emotionally, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone fixed that. If not, there’s a BB-8-WALL-E hybrid, a pizza salesman, or the Japanese seal (my personal favorite. It’s like a giant, wriggling fluffball). Not all of these are designed for companionship in your old age, but they represent an intriguing development in artificial intelligence. Rather than being programmed to do things for us, it seems that these robots are designed to work with us. I can support that, now that I have WALL-E on the brain.

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