Narrative Essay about a Kid Having a Robot

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Introduction

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a developmental disorder that affects thousands of people every year. This disorder is characterized by the way a person socially interacts with others, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors, and obsessive interest. Each person affected by autism spectrum disorder has their own challenges and strengths in regard to problem-solving. According to the Autism Science Foundation, “The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less” (2019).

The most defining characteristics of autism usually appear around the ages of 2-3 years old. According to the NIH, “there is currently no one standard treatment for autism spectrum disorder” (2017). There isn’t even a specific medication that treats autism. The therapies and interventions that are used, are intended to decrease the current symptoms one may be experiencing, and improve their problem-solving abilities and interpersonal skills. A few of the therapies that have been successful in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder would include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and verbal behavioral interventions. Research has shown that early detection and diagnosis of autism, like during daycare or preschool age, has a positive influence on their improvement. One therapeutic approach to improve the life of someone with autism spectrum disorder is an autism carebot.

Autism Carebot

An autism carebot is a healthcare robot that was designed to assist children who have been diagnosed with a developmental autism spectrum disorder. According to an article titled Meet the care bots, autism carebots are used to help those “who find it difficult to read emotions and interpret behavior”. Research shows that the carebots are really helpful when they are introduced to the child very early. All of the many capabilities and positive attributes of the autism carebots have improved the clients’ social interaction abilities and problem-solving skills. The carebots can be viewed as a play tool for the child to help develop themselves in a desensitized fashion. The autism carebot would be introduced into a child’s daily routine between the ages of two and three years old. Research has shown this is the average age that autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed.

Even though the autism carebots have proven they have the ability to improve the functional abilities of a child with autism spectrum disorder, there are a lot of people who aren’t quite on board with having robots integrated into healthcare. Or the other issue of not being able to afford the helpful autism carebot. Research has frequently shown that “children from minority families, children of parents with a lower degree of education, and residents of rural areas were less likely to receive such services” (Raicu 2018). Some schools have tried to help with the cost boundaries, but it is still an issue. Students who are able to interact with the robot at school, are still at a disadvantage of the robots’ abilities because they can only use it during school hours. Not schools are even able to afford the opportunity to have the robot at their school just during school hours. The high cost of the robot is a boundary for access to its developmental abilities.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a strategic plan to make the autism carebot more accessible and affordable to more schools and families who are affected by the autism spectrum disorder. More specifically, “build a better, more affordable, more widely accessible autism carebot, aimed at preschool-age children, and intended for use in the children’s homes” (Raicu 2018). All of these aims should be achieved with ethical principles and moral values of society in mind.

Should We Pursue This?

Developing a way to make a robot that has the ability to improve a child’s daily functioning skills and abilities, who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, is definitely a plan worth pursuing. It’s a project that would improve thousands of children who are affected by the developmental disorder. It helps to improve skills such as language abilities, social interactions, and many more. The autism carebot, especially if used when the child is very young and had an early diagnosis, will significantly enhance the user’s quality of life as well. The biggest problem with the autism carebot being accessible to all schools and families, is that it is a very expensive product.

Achieving this goal can be easier said than done. A few ethical concerns that may come up while pursuing this project would be who would pay for the autism carebot? Another ethical concern that may arise while pursuing this project would be how humans would feel about being cared for or interacting with a robot on a close daily basis. Not everyone may be initially comfortable with bonding with a robot and receiving care from it. Dealing with the technological abilities of the robot raises its own ethical concerns such as privacy, misinformation, and many others. These ethical dilemmas can cause a delay or negative reaction toward the carebots in society. It is imperative that all ethical concerns discovered in the process of development, are addressed and taken into consideration.

Who’s Involved?

One thing that’s very important to consider when developing this action plan would be who would be a stakeholder in this development project. A stakeholder is someone who has an interest in something and supports it monetarily. Stakeholders for the development of an improved and more accessible autism carebot can be a number of different groups of people. One group, in particular, can be those who are affected by autism. Whether that is someone who personally has autism spectrum disorder, or is in the family of someone who has autism spectrum disorder.

Other stakeholders could be those who are part of the Autism Society. They have a valuable and emotional connection to autism. Another group of people who could potentially be stakeholders in this project would be the product developers. These people should invest in their design and products. The last group of stakeholders would be the customers. Customers expect good quality services, and that is what’s at stake for them when they purchase or put money towards an autism carebot.

Additional Information

In order to fulfill this project, additional information needs to be collected. One detail that needs to be known is how much is the autism carebot costing people right now. We need to know this detail first, to see can if a reduced price for this product is possible. Next, we need to find out how much is it costing the developers and designers to make. The materials and technology used to develop a great device, such as the autism carebot, can be particularly expensive by itself.

Another important detail needed before the start of this project is if there is a high demand for the carebot. We don’t want to go through the process and the development of a new carebot if no one is interested in the product. The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is slightly increasing. Our hope is that there are many customers and stockholders out there that are interested in this wonderful life-changing robot. All of these facts and information should be collected and taken into consideration prior to the development of the new and improved autism carebot.

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Ethical Issues

Ethics can be defined as a set of standards or principles for behavior. They basically provide guidelines for how we are to act in certain situations and interactions. Ethics can be used to make hard decisions as well as simple decisions. Decisions in which the ethics may be challenged or threatened can be considered a hard decisions. It is important that ethics and any other moral standards, are taken into consideration when making ethical decisions. Ethics can be used throughout various situations and interactions. Ethics can be used in relation to law, religion, job development, research, and so many more. Using ethical standards learned from many different situations will increase the quality of behaviors performed and initiated. When the ethical standards are threatened or have an issue concerning them, they can be defined as ethical concerns. These thoughts about ethics and ethical standards will be implemented during the development of the new autism carebot.

There are a few ethical concerns that arise when going through the process of developing an autism carebot. All of these ethical issues should be addressed and always taken into consideration during the autism carebot development process. One ethical concern when developing a robot is the issue of privacy. According to Noel and Amanda Sharkey, “there are clear overlaps between the concerns raised about privacy in the context of childcare robots” (Sharkey and Sharkey 2017). The two authors continue to explain that “although monitoring may be conducted with the welfare and safety of the individual in mind, this may not be sufficient in all cases to justify the intrusion” (Sharkey and Sharkey 2017). Many individuals are concerned with the robots potentially monitoring them during their interactions with them, thus violating their privacy. This is considered an ethical issue because the concept of privacy is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It says, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation” (Sharkey and Sharkey 2017).

Another ethical concern that should be taken into consideration is that of human contact and socialization. Since the autism carebot will be interacting with children of all ages, the impact of their socialization with them can cause some concerns. According to Sharkey, “It is the natural right of all individuals to have contact with other humans and socialize freely” (Sharkey 2017). This ethical principle can be viewed as being threatened by the concept of having robots with children so frequently. The thought is that if humans get a custom to having robots around all the time, it will lead to the robots potentially taking over and occupying more of humans' common spaces. Some may believe that having a robot at a young age will have an effect on a person’s socialization skills with humans.

For example, if the child is constantly around a robot, the child may lean more towards the robot for affection and communication, than the parent or stuffed animal. It raises concerns for some people. Research suggests that “perhaps little or no harm would result from a child being left in the care of a robot for very short periods” (Sharkey and Sharkey 2017). Since the aim of this project is to increase the accessibility of these robots for children with autism spectrum disorder, this is a major ethical concern. The autism carebots are developed with many developmental abilities and capacities to enhance the child’s communication skills and social interaction capabilities. According to Starkey, “An important function of a caregiver is to promote a child’s development, for instance, by using progressively more complex utterances in tune with the child’s comprehension” (Sharkey 2017). An autism carebot is definitely capable of fulfilling these functions.

Ethical Frameworks

Making decisions with ethical principles in mind can be a hassle. It is imperative that the decision-makers have a well-developed plan to assess and consider ethical issues. When the ethical decision-making plan is developed and used over and over again over time, the plan becomes so familiar and natural. So natural that you shouldn’t have to think about the steps that are compiled in the decision-making plan. Making ethical judgments won’t be seen as a difficult task or something that no one wants to do.

Even though the ethical decision-making plan may be well-developed, and has been applied to many ethical cases, doesn’t mean it's well around perfect. Different decision-making plans could be developed to address many different ethical cases and dilemmas. You should pick the best ethical decision-making plan for that specific case or dilemma. Another name for an ethical decision-making plan would be a framework. Before any ethical framework is applied to a specific case or situation, all information that is needed should be collected.

There are many times of ethical frameworks that are developed, that can be used to address the ethical concerns related to the development of the autism carebot. The consequentialist framework can be applied to address the discussed ethical dilemmas. This specific framework is used in situations or cases where the ethical decision, directly or indirectly affects the people involved. When using the consequentialist framework, the goal is to produce the most good for people. According to Bonde & Firenze 2013, the focus of the conceptual framework is to “direct attention to the future effects of an action, for all people who will be directly or indirectly affected by the action” (Bonde & Firenze 2013). The autism carebot will affect the child who actually has autism spectrum disorder directly. The family of the child, plus those who will be around the child often, will be included in the people who will be indirectly affected by the autism carebot.

The downside to just about any ethical framework, consequentialist framework included, is that we’re not always certain about what the outcomes will be. Therefore, “some actions that are expected to produce good consequences might actually end up harming people” (Bonde & Firenze 2013). In the development of the autism carebot, these uncertain outcomes can arise and need to be addressed. There’s the possibility that negative comments and attitudes will be present about the carebot. Consumers, developers, and retailers may not initially agree with the new changes and compromises made for the autism carebot. The hope is that the autism carebot is positively accepted by society.

Ideas

A great approach to this developmental project is testing the product. The goal of this project is to produce a more efficient, accessible, and affordable carebot for children affected by autism spectrum disorder. What better way to test out the quality of the carebot, than to test it with a group of our target audience? For example, a similar autism carebot company was recently planning to test out their product named “Kaspar”. According to the article Titled, Meet the Robots, “Kaspar will enter a two-year clinical trial by the NHS this year, which will involve 40 children and aims to distinguish the difference between those who interact with Kaspar and a therapist, and those who only see a therapist” (2017).

This would be a testing method used to develop my company’s autism carebot. This will allow first-hand feedback from the autism carebot. Customers will be able to interact with the carebot in multiple environments and observe all of its developmental abilities. Information on important details such as the communication enhancement skills, price of the autism carebot, and social interaction skills will be provided to the customers as well as anyone else who may be interested in the product. It is imperative that we show off how beneficial this product will be in each of their lives with purchase. The parents of children with autism will be a big part of this project. With this testing method, we will show everyone, especially the spectators, that the carebot is more than just a piece of technology. According to the article Titled, Meet the Robots, “They look set to play not only a vital role in providing social care but will make a genuine and meaningful impact on people’s lives by giving them a level of independence that may otherwise have been” (2017.

Conclusion

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder is a serious developmental disorder. It affects thousands of people. It is a disorder characterized by a disruption in social interactions, repetitive behaviors, and verbal and nonverbal communication. The characteristics of this disorder normally appear between the ages of two and three years old. It is also this age range when early diagnosis and detection are optimal. Therapies and treatment have the best outcomes when introduced at this time. One of the therapies that have shown a favorable outcome for autism spectrum disorder is an autism carebot.

The autism carebot is a robot therapy for children affected with an autism spectrum disorder. It has been proven to improve a child’s functional abilities by enhancing one’s social interaction abilities, verbal and nonverbal communication, and normalizing behaviors. The problem with getting this product out to more people is the cost of the product. We have developed some ideas to improve the efficiency, accessibility, and cost of the autism carebot. The ethical issues pertaining to this product have been identified. The consequentialist framework, with the goal to produce the best for people, will be used to make decisions regarding ethical issues and concerns. Once the new and improved autism carebot is designed and developed, we will formulate a clinical trial, similar to the one in progress with Kaspar, to test out the quality.

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Narrative Essay about a Kid Having a Robot. (2023, November 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/narrative-essay-about-a-kid-having-a-robot/
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Narrative Essay about a Kid Having a Robot. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/narrative-essay-about-a-kid-having-a-robot/> [Accessed 23 Apr. 2024].
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