AI in Healthcare: Robots as Caregivers and Companions

"Robots" by Ricardo Diaz licensed under CC BY 2.0
Robots” by Ricardo Diaz licensed under CC BY 2.0

Source: The Atlantic

Experts in Artificial Intelligence and the medical field find that robots could offer medical support and companionship, serving a similar purpose as pets in the health sector.

Research studies have proven time and again that there are multiple health benefits from owning a pet, including reducing stress, anxiety, depression and even increasing an owner’s tendency to exercise. Similarly, experts find that for people with disabilities or who are older benefit from interacting with robots, as they develop companionship with a moving object that not only demonstrates agency, but also serves their assigned human and is programmed to respond and interact with the human.

Machines have long been in use to serve human needs, in transportation, in food production and preparation, in homes and more. Now, robots will be able to serve the health care sector on a deeper level, giving patients the option to interact with something that is not judgmental or threatening as one might perceive a human to be, yet still able to respond to the needs of a patient.

Experts suggest that there may come a time when robots will be programmed to program themselves to adapt to their specific human, so that they develop individual “personalities.” While they are currently programmed to recognize human expressions and can adequately respond verbally to an expression, they are merely “mimicking compassion,” experts note.

An issue for the future might be that if robots can indeed become abundant as assistants and “care-givers,” some might perceive this as a replacement for actual human interaction for older people and those with disabilities. Furthermore, the question arises of whether humans who make use of the robots will begin to assume actual companionship from the robots and what that will mean for the future.

Read full story at: The Atlantic

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Health, News