The theme of “crossed lines” is one I visit regularly. The demographic challenges facing policy makers and the specific challenges that will be bourne by younger generations are unequivocal in my view. The nature of future work, training and skill pathways are all challenged by the rate and depth of such change.
This is a variation on that theme.
Geoff Watts, writing in Mosaic Science earlier this year, pinpoints the growing ( and very real ) human challenges at the other end of the increasingly unbalanced population pyramid.
We have fewer people of working age. There’s a pressing requirement for robots in the social care of the elderly. This applies equally (especially) to Australia. Add our vast distances, limited infrastructure and sparse population densities and the policy challenges are clear.
Quoting Tony Belpaeme, Professor in Intelligent and Autonomous Control Systems at Plymouth University, modern medicine and increasing longevity have conspired to boost the need for social care, whether in the home or in institutions. Traditionally among the poorest paid of the workforce, carers are an ever more scarce resource. Watts shows that policy makers have begun to cast their eyes towards robots as a possible source of compliant and cheaper help.
The question is not ‘Do I want a robot companion to care for me?’ but ‘Would I accept being cared for by a robot?’
His exploration of the issues are insightful and honest. The challenges are both current and real.
- The full article first appeared on Mosaic and an excerpt is republished here under a Creative Commons licence.
- Main Image – CC-BY: Thomas Farnetti/Wellcome Images for Mosaic
- Crossed Lines
- An Inconvenient Youth
- Geoff Watts
- Tony Belpaeme
- Intelligent and Autonomous Control Systems at Plymouth University