Japan’s elderly are being told to get used to being looked after by robots.
Sammy Davis Jr. croons as the android Dolores Abernathy steadies her horse, takes aim with her Winchester, and picks off her human masters one by one.
IN EARLY 1954, Pope Pius XII summoned a venerable Swiss quack named Paul Niehans to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo. The pontiff was nauseated with gastritis, fatigued by his 77 years, and loath to meet his maker.
The UK health secretary has admitted that there is a shortage of both doctors and nurses. This is a problem that could have been foreseen some years ago, and will only get worse due to Brexit. And there is another looming shortage in the shape of social care workers.
Every few months, Japan is introduced to the latest robot destined for a career of endlessly cheerful toil in the country’s growing network of nursing homes.
Arram Sabeti pulled back his T-shirt sleeve to reveal a disc about the size of a £2 coin implanted in his shoulder. “It’s a glucose monitor,” he said proudly. “I change it every two weeks.”
In 1999, the futurist Ray Kurzweil published a book entitled The Age of Spiritual Machines. He looked forward to a future in which the “human species, along with the computational technology it created, will be able to solve age-old problems . . . and will be in a position to change the nature of mortality.”
Every time you walk down stairs, the body braces for each step to avoid falling which uses a lot of energy. It’s a lot like pulling the brakes of your car while revving the engine.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 424,000 people across the world die each year from falls. A total of 37.3 million falls are severe enough to require medical attention. Of course, adults older than 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.
Robots already perform many traditionally human tasks, from vacuuming to surgery—and they could soon help care for the sick and elderly. But until they can convincingly discern and mimic emotions, their caretaker value will be severely limited.
As aged care service providers come to terms with legislative changes that provide consumers with greater choice, Thomas Holt is forging ahead to improve the quality of life for residents, drive efficiencies for care workers, and differentiate itself in the market.