Friday, June 24, 2005

But will the union let it join?

At the University of California - San Diego (UCSD), two robots are attending nursery school to teach songs, colors and shapes to one- and two-year old children. QRIO (for "Quest for Curiosity") from Sony, and RUBI (for "Robot Using Bayesian Inference"), developed at the Machine Perception Laboratory of UCSD, are there to study the uses of interactive computers for early childhood education. "RUBI is a three foot tall, pleasantly plump robot with a head and two arms. It stands on four non-motorized rubber wheels for moving it easily from place to place." Preliminary results show that the children like the robots, and even hug them -- until they're bored.
Not only is Rosie the Robot doing the housekeeping, she's got a job at a daycare. Please. No one does this most important task better than mom. Surely someone else sees that human interaction has no substitute. Do we want our children to start emulating Rosie or real people?It's so sad to see this child trying to hug a hunk of metal. How about we let the robots do the work and people validate the higher value of children by taking care of that most important job ourselves.

(Thanks to Ben.)

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