Will Robots Ever Be Used In Care?

The head of the largest trial in using AI in care homes recently blamed the press for creating fear regarding the use of artificial intelligence as carers, saying “we shouldn’t be frightened of the potential of robotics in care” at a recent Future Of Care Conference.

Dr Chris Papadopoulos, who is a public health lecturer at Bedfordshire University, predicts that in the future, AI will produce better patient outcomes – but, he insists, “it isn’t about replacing jobs, it is about complementing existing care.”

The Media & Robots In Care

Admittedly, robots are rarely portrayed in a positive light when it comes to the media. From Hollywood films such as I, Robot, to a recent Channel 4 documentary Humans, depicting robots achieving sentience, it’s no wonder many people regard the idea of AI being used for care in real life with some scepticism.

However, the future may be closer than we think: in Japan, there is already a huge shift in the popularity of assisted technologies for elderly care, which may be due to the growing elderly population and decreasing numbers of carers.

Caress Project

The CARESSES UK project aims to build robots that can learn about residents by taking into account their individual personalities, as well as their cultural identity. The robots can then help residents stay in touch with loved ones, provide lifestyle reminders such as staying active, what clothing to wear, or upcoming events and holidays, and even to stay up to date with the therapy that has been prescribed to them.

The project is always aiming to be complementary to carers, rather than replacing them – providing the lives of both carers and the people they care for easier.

The Benefits

An estimated 6.5 million people in the UK alone are carers, often unpaid and juggling jobs and family responsibilities alongside their role as a carer.

With 8 in 10 carers reporting extreme loneliness and isolation, having robots support their duties could be a huge benefit to many carers that are struggling to balance their lives.

Artificial intelligence could lift the burden off of millions of carers in the UK, without neglecting the needs of the people actually receiving care.

Read more about the CARESSES project and the original article here.