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Can coexistence with animal robots be as beneficial as coexistence with real animals?
Loneliness is often mentioned among the most typical problems associated with modern times. This problem is often particularly prevalent among the elderly population. As in many other cases, some have begun to think about how to use modern technology to at least partially alleviate such problems. This is how the idea of special pets developed - not animal, but robotic…
The robot, of course, can be made to be quite similar to a living creature, at least from a distance. If we add to this the ability to respond to voices or touches and the fact that today robots can successfully perform even very complex tasks, we get a device that works very realistically. Most robots used today do not otherwise fall into this category. These are still mainly devices used in various industries, which in some places are increasingly replacing the need for human labor. At the same time, robots are becoming very widespread in hospitals, as they can be used to provide much greater accuracy in various operations. In some places abroad, robots have even been introduced in old people's homes, where they help feed the cared for. But in addition to industrial and various medical robots, there are also t. i. social robots, which have become increasingly interesting lately - especially due to the contact constraints brought about by the pandemic. It's about t. i. intelligent toys, which, according to some experts, will soon become indispensable companions of many people…
Intelligent robotic toys or. social robots are basically often reminiscent of humans. This, of course, is not a realistic shot of a human, but such robots usually have a head, arms, legs, and so on. Thus, it is not surprising that manufacturers of social robots are increasingly also producing ones that resemble pets. Robots in the image of different animal species have already been introduced by many well-known companies, and since it is known that caring for animals or socializing with them can contribute to better well-being, many experts have begun to wonder if similar effects can be achieved with robotic pets. pets. In some places, they have already decided on special experiments…
In some countries, projects have been launched to provide robotic pets to the elderly, who have become even more isolated than usual in recent months due to the risk of more serious complications from a new coronavirus infection. The initiators of such projects hope that the visual similarity and similarity of behavior, which makes robotic animals at least partially reminiscent of real ones, can contribute to similar positive effects as coexistence with a real four-legged furry friend.
They are aware that a robot can never completely replace a "real experience", but it is a good alternative or emergency solution for those who may not be able to take care of the animal, as robotic pets do not need walking, feeding, bathing, etc. ., which can otherwise require quite a bit of time and energy. Critics of such use of modern technology are often skeptical, as they believe that in the long run it can contribute to even greater loneliness of many people, but times are such that such ideas can not be written off too quickly. Thus, it will be interesting to monitor the effects that coexistence with robotic pets will have on the elderly who have previously suffered from severe loneliness.