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Human-like robot babysitters are in the works, but it's unclear at this early stage what children's relationships with these humanoids will be like and what dangers lurk in this convenient-sounding technology.
Will the robots do more than keep children safe and entertained? Will they be capable of fostering social interactions, emotional attachment, intellectual growth and other cognitive aspects of human existence? Will children treat these caregivers as personified entities, or like servants or tools that can be bought and sold, misused or ignored?
...[R]esearchers report that children exchanged social pleasantries, such as shaking hands, hugging and making small talk, with a remotely controlled human-like robot (Robovie) that appeared autonomous. Nearly 80 percent of the children – an even mix of 90 boys and girls, aged 9, 12 or 15 – believed that the robot was intelligent, and 60 percent believed it had feelings.
88 percent of the children thought the robot was treated unfairly in not having a chance to take its turn, and 54 percent thought that it was not right to put it in the closet. A little more than half said that they would go to Robovie for emotional support or to share secrets