Robot Carers? NO!
I am not a luddite or a technophobe but I do not believe that Robots should ever be used to care for the elderly or vulnerable because, simply put, that is the job of human beings; our responsibility and our duty.
What does it say about a society if there aren’t enough people willing to care for its elderly and they instead delegate this responsibility to machines? It says that it is an uncaring society where our fellow human beings are viewed as so unimportant to us that we can’t be bothered to care for them and would rather have a labour saving device to do it for us.
What message would it send out to those who would be cared for by the machines? That no one really cares about them and that they are a chore; a nuisance and not worthy of our time or effort.
Would the robot carers actually care about those people who they would be caring for? No, they would only be doing their job because they’re programmed to do it and isn’t caring about some one’s wellbeing essential to properly caring for them?
Would we entrust child raising to robots? Would any mother happily give her child to a robot foster parent? Why not? Is it because we care less about our elderly than about our children that we are happy with the idea of handing over responsibility for their care to uncaring machines?
What about human contact? Isn’t that something essential for our well-being? If you can empathise for a moment, put yourself in the place of the elderly person being cared for, would you prefer to
speak to robots all day or other human beings?
Growing old is something that will happen to us all and our children, it is not something that happens to other people and we must not treat the elderly as the ‘other’; something alien to us.
They are our relatives; our neighbours and our friends and they should not be viewed by us as a burden. Would we like to be viewed in that way?
I’m trying to appeal here to your empathy and your compassion and your love for your fellow human being because these are things that most of us, as human beings, possess but which robots do not possess and because we possess these things it is what makes us the ones most ideally suited to the job of caring.
We cannot run as fast as a motorcar or fly like an aeroplane but, honestly, what machine can care better than a human being can for another human being?
Furthermore, how would you like to die? Alone or in the company of other human beings who can understand and empathise with what is happening to you. A person who dies in the company of Robots is dying alone, surrounded by moving mannequins with fake expressions of concern. What a miserable thing to happen to someone, to me or to you or to anyone.
The thought of it makes me saddened and angry. Does it not make you feel the same?