It’s all well and good when artificial intelligence is running certain parts of our lives (we’ve got NO problem with travel apps making up for our lack of direction), but this may be one step too far. AvatarMind, a company with offices in China and Silicon Valley, has just created the iPal, and according to the folks over at Mashable, this robotic companion will soon be making its way over to the US to be your kid’s new childcare provider.
AvatarMind says that this “nanny robot” will have the banter of a four- to eight-year-old in order to better relate to your child. What’s more, its “brain” (learning engine) allows it to remember your kid’s likes and dislikes and use that knowledge to improve conversation. Since it’s super high tech, it can also keep an eye on the web to learn more about topics that your child is interested in.
And that’s not all: The iPal can also feel touch, listen to speech and determine emotion. If your child is unhappy, the iPal’s job is to cheer him or her up. If your child is happy, the iPal will be happy too.
While we’re not entirely opposed to it taking the place of oh, say, hours of mindless television for entertainment purposes, there are some things that are raising red flags: Like the fact that the iPal will automatically take pictures and video of your child, “for safety and monitoring purposes.” These images are obviously meant to help parents keep a watchful eye on their little ones, but we don’t love the idea of other people getting their hands on footage of our kids, should a mishap occur. Not to mention, various experts are worried about the psychological effects that long-term exposure of children to robots instead of humans could cause.
All that aside, this does have the potential to be the start of a beautiful robot-humanity relationship ― welcome to the future?
What do you think of robot caregivers? Tweet us @BritandCo!