Robots As Friends

This is the second article in a three-part series focusing on autism and technology. There is an open dialogue involving robots that empathize with us on a deeply sensitive level. The ultimate goal is to create machines that act as companions and friends. Is this the kind of technology we have dreamed of – or a slippery opulence we will live to regret?

Sometimes a friend is simply a friend. For some people with autism, the traditional definition of friendship may not fit. Friends may be limited in imagination due to social anxiety or being verbally disabled with another person. It is difficult for so many people to form friendships in the spectrum, resulting in minimal social interaction outside the home. The introduction of robots into society is not without controversy, as opponents of this latest trend think that socialization skills are actually prevented from interacting with robots. Also, it raised some objections to religious and moral concerns, citing that robots were being used for illegal purposes. Importantly, it is important to note the intention of this article to identify the positive outcomes of autistic-derived adult and robot interactions. Of course, we can agree on loneliness, and loneliness is a special cause in the lives of the elderly and people with special needs around the world.

Lifestyle continues to evolve as we interact, work and engage in recreational activities. Having access to a network of family and friends is something we all cherish in our lives. For many in the autism spectrum, sensitive challenges override the desire to have meaningful social relationships. Subsequently, it is not uncommon to have strong ties with pets, a favorite cartoon or television character, or even imaginary friends. It tends to be no different than having a friendship with a robot. In fact, there are many benefits to having a robot programmed not just to perform tasks, but also to engage in stimulating conversations. Fortunately, robots can be a lot more program than conversation, providing complementary health and safety benefits.

The demand for the autistic community is as broad and diverse as the people who make up this segment of the overall population. The field of personal robotics is just emerging as a viable alternative that offers unlimited potential for good in all of our lives. The autism community can support its quest for inclusion in the job market, as well as more people living an independent life on the spectrum. While earning a pay check, living in an apartment, only the dreams of thousands of autistic adults who want more. Robots can remind them when a medical emergency is about to run out, or even when hiring a 911 dial.

Furthermore, through social interactions, and daily interactions with a private robot, the face can improve significantly over the course of a pet. An activity such as eating plans or balancing a bank account can be so simple – emotional stimulation has far-reaching effects. Furthermore, having companionship moves an autistic person out of the realm of imagination to the physical reality of forming thoughts or answering questions.

Robots cause a lot of resentment for some, as there are still many unanswered questions. What we do know at the moment is that there are opportunities for society from this kind of technology. As programmers get more creative and involved in the process, we will inevitably see robots that are capable of performing more advanced and more complex tasks. This debate will not end in the near future, as judgment is still out of place for adoption of robots in our homes and workplaces. In the meantime, we should all try to learn more about this technology and how it will affect our future.

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