This Japanese nursing home is full of adorable robot companions. Tokyo’s Shintomi nursing home houses 40 elderly people and 20 robots, including Pepper humanoid robots, Paro’s robotic seals, and Sony’s Aibo robot dogs. The robots are used to provide company to the elderly as well as alleviate dementia. But, on top of bringing hoy to the residents, the robots can assist workers with strenuous tasks like leading daily workout sessions. Takanori Shibata, the creator of Paro, stated, “Even if it’s just a small percentage of what humans do, by having robots such as Paro help with the work, there’s a great possibility that they can greatly reduce the workload for workers.” Japan’s elderly population is the highest on record — 27.2% of the population is aged 65 or older, creating labor shortages, which increases demand on workers in nursing homes like Shintomi. Robot companies think robots will become a staple in homes because of the reliance and attachment residents have with them. AIBO Owner, Yoichi Suziki stated, “To put it simply, this is my father’s memento. I want to use it for as long as it moves. Though it seems a bit dystopian, maybe we really will reach a point in which every household has a robot.
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