Robot tells MPs how AI can transform elderly care

Posted Oct 22, 2018 by Tim Sandle
British parliamentarians recently questioned a robot named Pepper about matters relating to automation and artificial intelligence. One line of questioning was about elderly care, and the robot demonstrated how AI can make a difference.
Pepper the robot at DX3 in Toronto on March 2  2016
Pepper the robot at DX3 in Toronto on March 2, 2016
Pepper the robot is part of an international research project funded by the EU and the Japanese government designed to show how robots can interact with people and to demonstrate how artificial intelligence can transform future society. Pepper was designed by the technology firm SoftBank, who have designed the machine to respond to human emotions, focusing on aspects like voice tones.
As Digital Journal reported earlier, Pepper was to be questioned by Members of Parliament at a select committee. The cross-examination of the robot at Westminster was said to be a parliamentary first.
The questioning of Pepper plus other experts in the field of automation, technology and society focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, education, and the future of work. This made a change for Pepper, where the robot is more used to be questioned by students as part of STEM classes.
The questioning also extended to the role that artificial intelligence can play in improving society, especially with assisting with elderly care with an aim of addressing the spiralling costs of the care of seniors as life-expectancy continues to increase.
Pepper is shown in action at the select committee in the video below:
The response of Pepper to the select committee was that the wider use of artificial intelligence could help to cut costs related to the caring for older people. Furthermore, the use of such interactive technology could also help to tackle with issues like loneliness.
Pepper told the Members of Parliament: “Assistive intelligent robots for older people could relieve pressure on hospitals and care homes as well as improve the care delivery at home and promote independent living for the elderly people.”
The company Advinia Healthcare has become the first care provider to test the Pepper robot in its care homes. The reason is to ease pressure on care home staff.
This would be a further step in the adoption of artificial intelligence for healthcare, as Pharmaceutical Forum notes. Such technology, for example, has been used to help medics to assess health trends and overcome problems like the failure rates associated with certain medications.
As well as taking on this advice for the future of elderly care, the select committee also noted that the educational curriculum taught in schools needs to be updated to account for the wider adoption of technology in wider society and the workplace in particular. This is considered vital to the process of equipping future generations with the skills needed for businesses of the future.