Many senior living operators see caregiving robots as a betterment tool for care and staffing. But will their integration fuel relationship concerns and moral hazards?

A recent opinion piece appearing in the New York Times suggests both negative outcomes may be inevitable.

In “Would you let a robot take care of your mother?” author Maggie Jackson notes that robotic devices allow new forms of friendship and aid to flourish, particularly as devices are built to “befriend, advise and monitor seniors.”

“Will Grandma’s robot pet inspire more family conversation or allow her kin to turn away from the demanding work of supporting someone who is ill or in pain?” she asks.

Jackson suggest social robots should carry a notice indicating potential side effects, including their capacity to interfere with relationship dynamics between people.

She adds such a warning “can help users, caregivers and designers alike better understand what they are dealing with and why, even as we continue to debate the questions of just how social, how humanlike and how transparent we want or need a care robot to be.” 

The full piece appears here.