I have 5 kids, none are robots. Fortunately, and sometimes unfortunately, they have freewill to act on their own accord. This makes me think of the potential problems for couples wanting to raising robot children.
Robots are by definition a helpmate, an inanimate thing that is programmed for a particular task. A child is programmed by his parents at an early age to learn and grow. However, a child will eventually leave the nest to make his own decisions. A robot baby is an attempt to control the development of children and halt their growth at a particular age. I guess this is one of the troubling aspects to Chris Clarke’s robot above. The other creepy feature is just the general terminator-like perversion of an innocent newborn.
I have to admit that my statements above are a little naive and superficial, because robot babies can also teach us so much about own our human development that it is worth the uncomfortable feeling of seeing a mechanical beast. In Japan, they are doing amazing breakthroughs at the JST Erato Asada Project at Osaka University. Their nine month old baby “NOBY” models a toddler’s development, with its 600 tactile sensors, eyes (cameras) and ears (microphones) to tell us how a baby experiences his/her surroundings. Acccording to the researchers, NOBY “teach us about the complexities of life” and will lead to new cognitive teaching methods to help real human babies. See the video of NOBY and his older brother M3-Kindy crawling.
We are fortunate that we live in an age whereby we can use models and technical skills to improve our daily lives, even for those that are just waking up.