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Companion Robots: A New Way to Betray the Elders
... and make a buck
This story is about the so called “companion robots” for elders.
A bossy spy with puppy eyes: Miro-E
Meet Miro (Miro-E), a cute robot designed allegedly to help the elders—but really to undercut the expectation of being taken care of by the family members during one’s old age—and to make a buck on promoting the benefits of zombiehood for all.
Why do I have so few kind words to say about this? Well, because this is yet another act of treachery. Yes, out of loneliness, people can accept a lie and get attached to an inanimate device that is programmed to mimic basic behavior of a living being, as if it were alive. Yes, being deprived of healthy emotional “food” makes people do all sorts of tragic things. But is this a way to live? And is this a way to spend one’s old age—being lonely and getting “nudged” and spied on by an electronic device with a Disney face? What treachery, again.
(And advertising? Can you imagine how easy it will be to “suggest” to the needy elders to “ask about” this new expensive drug? For their own good, of course… Oh and this spy robot could then instantly “connect” to an AI “doctor,” who could both “recommend” and prescribe the expensive drug, right there on the spot? Sheer business genius, that eldercare robot. Infinite opportunities for “growth,” as long as the friendly Fed keeps printing the money… but I digress.)
Anyway, here is the digital eldercare device with puppy-like Disney eyes.
And here is a glorious, Hollywood style commercial:
“Old people problem”
Oh, oh, we have an “old people problem” where in the developed world, the population is declining and there are not enough young people to take care of the old. What to do?!!!
Really, what to do, what a challenge—because suggesting that people should simply have more children and raise them to be caring would be a terrible insult to the current and future profits of the biomedical industry! What a ridiculous thing to suggest!
The actual old problem: lying in order to steal
The Very Important Investors in Every Industry would much rather “levy” everything we do, from breathing to childbirth. To them, the rest of the human race exist to “feed” them.
They do many intricate tricks to mess with people’s heads and shape the perceived reality in such a way that even the most ridiculous things feel “normal” if not desirable (or inevitable, at least).
And when the people on the receiving end of their tricks don’t fight with tooth and claw and don’t insist with every breath to have the spiritual clarity and the dignity, the confusion moves in (and stays until the people stop cooperating with the liars).
As far as the narratives to “justify” the lie, the narratives are very easy to install when the people are willing to shrink themselves and comply. It could be any lie: institutional theology, biosecurity state, victory of communism or sustainable development. Narratives are disposable, the principle theft remains.
Like I wrote in my 2021 article about the war on natural immunity and ability,
I posit that in logical and commercial terms, this war on the natural world, natural immunity—and natural ability at large—can be explained with clarity in terms of what is known as the “blue ocean strategy,” with an infusion of transhumanist ideology of human body as a [product] platform.
The blue ocean strategy is a business strategy that proposes creating a brand new market out of thin air and dominating it (a blue ocean)—as opposed to trying to compete in an existing market (an ocean red with blood).
Here’s how it applies to natural immunity. A healthy person with a natural immunity might be a happy person—but to a 2021 biotech entrepreneur, who views the human body as a market to dominate, he is a sheer insult. From the standpoint of that entrepreneur, replacing the default natural immunity of the past millions years with a fully artificial tool that requires a “subscription” throughout one’s entire lifetime (see “variants” and “boosters”) is desirable. Replacing the default natural immunity with an artificial tool is a very successful case of creating a brand new market (“artificial immunity market”) out of air. A life-long subscription to artificial immunity, with an ever-expanding range of necessary “upgrades,” is a lot more profitable than some rookie traditional shop selling vitamins. Even better, if artificial immunity destroys the natural immunity, customer loyalty is guaranteed. See how elegant?
Joseph Weizenbaum and ELIZA
Joseph Weizenbaum was a prominent computer scientist (including at the MIT) who created ELIZA, the first “chatbot,” as a fun creative project, for his intellectual exploration. He passed away in 2008, may he rest in peace. He was indeed a brilliant scientist but also a decent human being and, once he saw the practical consequences of his work and where others were trying to take it, he tried to put the genie back in the bottle—but was seemingly pushed aside.
Here is his obituary in the LA Times. And here is an 2008 Davos panel (with annoying simultaneous translation) during which he argued with his co-panelists about the virtues of AI, etc. You can observe the dynamic of the interaction, how they smirk at the “old man,” etc.
And yes, it’s been known since Joseph Weizenbaum created his ELIZA that people tend to “animate” life-mimicking machines in their heads. A lot of people are emotionally deprived and—consciously or subconsciously—seek out understanding an intimacy. “AI” gives an illusion of intimacy while at the same time providing an illusion of “being in charge” of how the “relationship” goes. It’s all psychology 101, really, but it works.
Here is a trailer for the documentary about him that I highly recommend: “Plug and Pray.”
At least the robot bosses will be culturally sensitive, yay!
Of course, in order to achieve a better market penetration, the machines need to be culturally-sensitive. Thank God.
CARESSES (short for Culture-Aware Robots and Environmental Sensor Systems for Elderly Support) is a multidisciplinary, international project whose goal is to design the first care robots that adapt the way they behave and speak to the culture of the person they assist.
CARESSES is funded by the European Union and by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan.
And here is a very sad video of a very cure “eldercare” robot used in Japan.
And an notorious ice-cream commercial that I wrote about last year.
One day, this insanity will end, and the elders will be taken care of by their family members—so that the elders get the respect and the love they deserve, and the young ones learn and grow their souls (the reason we are here on Earth, anyway).
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