Concerns for Carebots and how the Jetsons Predicted the Future

This week’s readings and discussions have been focused on the technological advancements in the military as well as the ethical decisions behind them.  Shannon Vallor discusses high tech virtues, dives in depth on military robots and Carebots. Carebots are focused on taking care of the senior citizens and elderly and sometimes children. She focuses on two ethical standpoints, the denotology and utilitarian ethics.  “Utilitarians recognize just one fixed and universal moral principle: the duty to promote the greatest overall happiness or net pleasure” (Vallor,209).  When looking at the ethics of robot childcare the utilitarian approach can determine if robot nannies can create a happiness overall for long term parents’ children or other people in the household. The utilitarian approach focuses more on the well-being of the people while the duty ethics or deontology is focused on the rules and regulations behind the bot itself. After reading about some of the Carebots, my mind of technology shifted into a more empathetic light. I always heard negative or more fighting purposes of the technological advancements but having a Carebots to support or provide care for the sick would be beneficial in today’s world. After seeing what happened with COVID-19 and the hospital; being understaffed, if we implemented these bots to work with the sick or elderly during those times, it would free up nurse’s availability to pick up shifts at the hospitals or provide more breaks for our care workers that worked endless hours to constantly provide patient care. “While it may be some time before practical, safe and affordable Carebots are available for widespread consumer or institutional use, their development is likely to continue to advance given the grave defense in the care systems in many developed nations” (Vallor, 219). However, there is a slight concern of the use of Carebots for certain older adults. According to NC state News found that “Specifically, there is a concern that patients – particularly patients with dementia – are being deceived into thinking that a Carebots is a person,” Dubljević says. (Dubljević, 2020). There is a constant agreement that these robots are not to take over people’s jobs but would be beneficial to those who live at home and cannot afford in-home care or need watch 24/7. Technology will always have its ups and downs, but it is good idea to determine if a patient is fit for having a Carebots look after them in the first place. Overall, they would be a beneficial use in society today and one of our previous loved cartoons shows predicted Carebots for the future.

Relating to modern day Carebots, it is easy to look back a beloved cartoon, the Jetsons, and compare the technology that was created on the show back in 1962 to what we use today. A fan of the Jetsons created a page that linked similar scenes from the show to technological bot and advancements today. The show was introduced in 1962 with the housekeeper Rosier the robot. She become an iconic character throughout the series and French-produced Buddy the Robot has become a real-life Rosie. This robot can move around the house and answer the phone or calls. In Japan, there was a development of the ASIMO, Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility bot, that can walk, run, use stairs, and recharge itself when batteries get low. The Jetsons other technological advancements from the show that were now in use today relate to talking or advanced alarm clocks, dog treadmills, the simplest of flat screen TVs, video chats, smartwatches and many more. (McMorris, 2019). What I found so interesting was that within each of these small devises on the show being in real life, Rosie was the only underdeveloped bot in the 21st century. She can be classified as a Carebots as she focuses.

Sources:

Dubljević, V., Coin, A., & Shipman, M. (2020, December 01). Tackling ethics concerns regarding use OF ‘Carebots’ to ASSIST older adults. Retrieved April 04, 2021, from https://news.ncsu.edu/2020/12/ethics-carebots-older-adults/.

McMorris, B. (2019, July 16). Jetsons Redux: How “THE JETSONS” predicted the future. Retrieved April 04, 2021, from https://futura-automation.com/2019/07/11/jetsons-predictedit/

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