Robot babies from Japan raise all sorts of questions about how parents bond with AI

img_0027Driven by a declining population, a trend for developing robotic babies has emerged in Japan as a means of encouraging couples to become “parents”The approaches taken vary widely and are driven by different philosophical approaches that also beg a number of questions, not least whether these robo-tots will achieve the aim of their creators. To understand all of this it is worth exploring the reasons behind the need to promote population growth in Japan. The issue stems from the disproportionate number of older people. Predictions from the UN suggest that by 2050 there will be about double the number of people living in Japan in the 70-plus age range compared to those aged 15-30. This is blamed on a number of factors including so-called “parasite singles”, more unmarried women and a lack of immigration. So, what are the different design approaches that are being taken to encourage more people to become parents? These have ranged from robots that mimic or represent the behaviour of a baby through to robots that look much more lifelike. Read More