"The [robot] could keep children [...] occupied for 'a couple of hours' without adult supervision."

The consequences of robotic babysitters

#Robots

Mon, Oct 3rd, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On The Guardian, Julia Carrie Wong looks at the iPal, a child-sized robot designed to keep children occupied "for hours without supervision," raising ethical questions about abandoning children in front of the device.

“It’s a robot for children,” said Avatar Mind founder Jiping Wang. “It’s mainly for companionship.” The iPal, he boasted, could keep children aged three to eight occupied for “a couple of hours” without adult supervision. It is perfect for the time when children arrive home from school a few hours before their parents get off work, he said.

The iPal takes the debate over the automation of human jobs to the next level. The ethics of how robots should interact with children is necessarily more fraught than the ethics of robots in the workforce. Childcare has rarely, if ever, been a particularly well-remunerated or respected job, but it is essential.

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