PaPeRo is not only quite a bizarre name for a robot, but a potentially disturbing concept. The NEC-developed “Partner-type Personal Robot” is being tested in childcare.
It’s able to express itself, can recognise 650 phrases and speak over 3,000, recognise faces, and remember interests and preferences.
It could quite happily be used with human supervision to provide a range of learning, play, and communication activities, but naturally there are some who are frightened that the concept could spiral out of control.
Professor Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield has apparently been voicing concern that any parent could leave their child in the “care” of a lump of metal, plastic, and microchips.
Taking a look at the alien-like (but still cute) little critters in the picture, it’s hard to imagine them handling some of the more important aspects of baby- and childcare – changing nappies, putting five loads of washing on every day, finding the kids’ homework, ironing school shirts – but they’d be great at finding the latest YouTube videos, playing Scrabulous against, or helping kids cheat on their homework.
(Via Electric Pig)