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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Artificial Stupidity

Robots Seen As Companions for Elderly

...In one of a budding series of robot-therapy sessions at Japanese hospitals and senior citizens' homes, the elderly patients suffer from severe dementia, but their faces light up when they see the dog-shaped robot, swaddled in soft clothing, waddle around the hospital floor. Some clap; others break into feeble smiles.

...The patients with dementia at the hospital in Ohbu, central Japan, suffer from significant memory lapses. They can't remember their names, faces of family, everyday things such as the difference between food and dirt. Some are prone to wandering at night.

...Tamura also found that introducing a stuffed animal shaped like a dog got almost the same effect from patients.

But a stuffed animal can't be programmed to, for example, help an Alzheimer's patient remember the names of their visiting children. Neither, of course, can real animals.

...John Jordan, a principal at consulting company Cap Gemini who has studied how technology shapes human expectations, believes it's inevitable that robots will provoke in people the same strong feelings that video games, movies and cars elicit.

More of the story at Agenda Bender, who also offers some useful synomyms for "Your zipper is down."
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