Although the development of robotics has advanced a lot in terms of industry, human-shaped models have also grown in their capabilities. We have already shared with you cases in which these humanoid machines serve in hotels and restaurants. But its performance can go far beyond simple customer service. As an example of this, we are going to tell you about Grace, a nursing robot equipped with everything necessary to diagnose illnesses and talk with patients to comfort them.
First, it must be pointed out that Grace is Sophia's sister, one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world who is capable of holding a conversation and even making jokes, one of which consisted in saying that she would end the humans. Of course many did not find it funny.
Well, the same company that developed Sophia, that is Hanson Robotics, now created Grace, a specialized health droid that has been designed with the idea of helping the elderly and people who need constant assistance.
The prototype robot, the developers shared, uses Artificial Intelligence to diagnose patients. It also has a thermal camera to take its temperature. But that's not all, it has also been programmed to provide social stimulation and talk therapy.
And to make people feel comfortable around her, Hanson Robotics gave Grace the appearance of a woman with Asian features and dressed her in a nurse's uniform as some research suggests that items like these can build user confidence. The downside is that it can also lead to overconfidence and unrealistic perceptions of a robot's capabilities.
With all her skills, Grace is able to provide some support to medical staff who, especially in recent months, has been overworked. It could also be a good alternative for people who feel lonely, millions have experienced it during the pandemic.
The use of these types of solutions is no longer part of the sci-fi movie script. In some countries, they are already used on a regular basis. For example, social robots are already widely used in Japan and some users clearly love them. Even these humanoids can become essential in a world with more and more elderly people where there is a shortage of workers, but there are those who believe that however highly developed they are, they will not replace humans.
Despite their advanced skills, the reality is that many specialists believe that social robots will not be able to replace humans in certain activities. What's more, some critics say they will be a cruel way to support the vulnerable.
Under that idea, these devices, in the best of cases, will only be used for very specific tasks. While humans will have more time to be, precisely human and provide comfort and empathy to others.
And it is that it has been proven that robots are less emotionally satisfying compared to interaction with other humans. Furthermore, its long-term effects remain unknown, and in that regard, there is also a concern that social robots reduce the user's contact with human family members, friends, and caregivers.
In this regard, robotics experts Amanda Sharkey and Noel Sharkey pointed out in an article that, given that as we age, social life and human contact are normally lost, the use of robots in the care of the elderly for tasks such as loading or even cleaning, could cause increased isolation.
Anyway, we will have to wait until this technology has been implemented in a general way to know the consequences.