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Robots in Health Care

To the Editor:

Re “Meet Zora, the Robot Caregiver” (Business Day, Nov. 27):

Working as a nurse in a home for dementia patients decades ago, I saw the emotional value of even stuffed animals or dolls for the patients. Connections were made; affection was given. Both are surely important at that phase of life, but a very expensive robot is not necessary.

While, for now, only those with dementia may imagine such a robot to be “real” in some way, younger people should not dismiss that reaction too quickly. Instead, they might consider how very real Siri and her ilk seem to them.

The question going forward is neither whether machines can serve in health care nor whether they will have a humanlike presence in our lives. Rather, the question is whether or not we will allow them to replace human engagement, caring and company when that is or should be possible.

That truly would be creating a dystopian world.

Anne-Marie Hislop
Chicago

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/opinion/letters/robots-health-care.html

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