Benefits of Using Robots in the Community as Housekeepers or Carers for the Elderly – Term Paper Example

Technology: Benefits of Using Robots in the Community Technology: Benefits of Using Robots in the Community Robots have witnessed a phenomenal evolution since their conception as mechanical toys to their present (almost) humanoid forms. Humans have outgrown their fear of artificial intelligence and are beginning to accept it in their daily lives. In fact, a large number of gadgets of daily use somehow employ artificial intelligence, be they computers, cars or household machines. While most robotic technology centers around serving individuals, robots also have great applications at the community level. Three benefits of using robots in the community are – taking care of elderly people, helping instructors in teaching, and assisting with medical applications.
A common complaint most communities have is that there is an increased carelessness towards the elderly. According to estimates, in the next 40 years, approximately 20% of the US population will be aged over 65 years and in Europe and Japan, the elderly population will increase to over 51% and 71% respectively by 2050 (Richardson, 2007). As more and more people are beginning to live independently, most individuals do not have any caretakers in their old age. Moreover, because of the busy and demanding lifestyles of today, elderly care is seen as more of a strain. In such cases, robots could offer respite. Robots can help old people with their household chores and could also act as their personal nurses through actions such as reminding them when to take their medications. Examples of such robots are Hondas Asimo (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), a humanoid robot the size of a small adult, and Pearl, a 1 meter tall robot whose face resembles that of a human (Richardson, 2007). With a growing need for elderly care, the number of nurses and caretakers has not increased proportionately. Robots could be the answer for the demand as they can be programmed to provide accurate medication administration, help with household chores, and even act as companions. Robots can thus be employed in elderly care and assistance.
Robots have immense potential for use in educational purposes as they can surpass the physical limitations of the human mind. They can reproduce a large amount of facts accurately and using inbuilt projector systems and other enhancements, they can impart interestingly interactive lectures to students. They can also assist teachers in correcting papers and assessing students, and can make learning a dynamic and thrilling experience for students. Trials and experimentation on humanoid robots are still underway and developers are focusing on giving robots a more human-like face, complete with emotion and expression. Hiroshi Ishiguro developed the Geminoid HI-1 android robot at the ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories in Japan as an almost perfect replica of himself (Bond, 2009). Using air bladders and pistons, Ishiguro intended to make the robot as expressive as possible through facial expressions. He can control his robot from a remote location and has been using him to lecture students. With the right conceptualization and design, robots can enhance the way lectures are delivered. They can be modified to suit the learning requirements of students of all ages and abilities. Robots thus have promising applications in the educational sphere.
Robots do not just find utility in education and human assistance but also in the healthcare space. They can be employed to carry out accurate surgical procedures that are conducted more precisely and neatly than humans. Robotic pharmacy can be used to enhance patient safety through accurate delivery and administration of medications. Robots can also be used to avoid bias during clinical trials as they are programmed, unlike humans who can influence research. Sophisticated robotic technology such as the da Vinci Surgical system is being used to carry out complicated surgeries (“the Da Vinci surgical system”, n.d.). Using such technology, surgeries can even be carried out remotely. The da Vinci Surgical System allows surgeons to work inside the body of the patient by maneuvering robotic arms that translate the motion of the surgeon’s arm into precise movements. Using cameras and 3D technology, surgeons are now able to get a 3D view of the insides of the operated area of patients. The precision, accuracy and lack of physical limitations of robotic technology make it a promising option in surgical healthcare.
As is apparent, robots can find applications in diverse aspects of the human community. Such widespread application has both drawbacks and advantages. Robots can become a vital component of the community by helping in elderly care, education and healthcare. They can help the elderly with household chores and other such actions such as reminding them when to take medications. They can also help make education more interactive and interesting. Carrying out surgeries has also become more sophisticated and easier with the advent of robotic technology. As the newer generations are becoming more and more comfortable with technology, seeing robots in almost every sphere of human habitation is inevitable.
Word Count: 799 (excluding title)
References
Richardson, K. (2007, February 16). My friend the robot. Times Higher Education.
Bond, M. (2009). Smart robots. Engineering and Technology Magazine.
The Da Vinci surgical system. (n.d.). Retrieved from
http://www.intuitivesurgical.com/products/davinci_surgical_system/