Narrative Essay on Having a Robot

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In our everyday life, it encompasses the way in which we usually think, act, and feel on a daily basis. One of the key activities of daily living is human-human interaction. As mentioned by John Danne, “No one is an island”. This explains that all individuals interact with one another virtually daily and often more one time in any one day. To be able to survive in this society, there must be effective social interaction. In short, it is inevitable as it revolves around us. Theoretically, we were made to have both interactions and connections.

Social interaction in everyday settings allows us to gain more opportunities to learn about each other’s stories which can be inspiring to everyone. In recent years, technology had been advancing and one of the current trends is autonomous artificial intelligence robots. Currently, there are some robots that are on the market and are sold commercially. These robots are not designed to be useful. In fact, they are created to be there for humans as social companion robots. Technology is granting these machines the capability to adapt to typical human behavior.

The production of these social companion robots is designed to enter the space of human social interaction, both physically and semantically. They can follow, recognize, and react to humans' actions in social contexts. These types of robots mainly interact with users and create companionship. Focusing only on companionship, one of the robots that are created by Blue Frog Robotics is a 60cm high robot called BUDDY.

BUDDY is a friendly companion robot. He is full of personality and reacts to his environment through a range of expressions that allow him to engage better. Apart from BUDDY, another company, SoftBank Robotics, manufactured a 120cm robot that is able to able process information, recognize voices, and detect different emotions by analyzing sounds, voice tones, and expressions, and learning through repeated interactions with people. This robot is called Pepper and is currently used in thousands of homes in Japan. Pepper is designed to be a day-to-day companion. Both robots, BUDDY and Pepper, are able to speak to optimize human interaction and is able to engage with people through conversation. Having a robot as a companion can be beneficial. Social companion robot is made to be convenient for us so they will be there for us whenever we need them. Most importantly, we can be comfortable around the robot and not afraid of any form of social anxiety. Owning a companion robot can lift our mood, and make us feel loved, less lonely, and happier. The key questions for having a robot as a companion: “Are all these autonomous artificial intelligence robots necessary to replicate our usual daily human interaction? “

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Daily human interaction is unavoidable unless we chose to stay in our safe haven alone the entire day. When one stays alone too much, they are limiting their human interaction. As an illustration, let us take it as when one is often limiting its own human interaction on a daily basis, one will look to purchase one of the autonomous artificial intelligence robots for companionship. For instance, an introvert and the elderly. But is it necessary for both groups of individuals to own a social companion robot? Introverts tend to feel drained after meeting people and regain their energy by spending time alone. Introverts focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation, enjoy solitude and prefer a small group of close friends. They are usually quiet and reserved, and introspective. Introverts’ characteristics may seem perfect for them to own a social companion robot as they do not have to deal with meeting new people and interacting with others that are out of their comfort zone. It is very convenient for an introvert just to choose to converse with a robot regularly as it does not require any commitment, small talk, expectations, and judgment. As many introverts thrive on routine and consistency, however, given that life is very unpredictable, some days do not go as planned. These tired introverted souls need something to nourish them and cheer them up, that is when this convenient robot will come in and provide them with a constant source of comfort. Despite having the benefits of having a robot as a companion, it is also not needed, even for an introvert, for an autonomous artificial intelligence robot to be there to imitate their usual social daily interaction.

We are all people who need people. Each individual is one of a kind, we cannot expect the same kind of experience we experience with the human on a robot. Those tired introverts can just choose to stay alone to recharge or hang out with a small group of close friends to seek comfort. They could seek companionship with a robot, however, it should not be a robot that is able to speak and communicate. When an introvert starts to prefer to talk to a social companion robot that they or could speak to on a daily basis, he or they may eventually choose to minimize their interaction with other humans. For example, when his or her own group of close friends want to hang out, he or she may choose not to reject it because the robot became his or her best ‘friend’ that they could converse with. With that being said, they should never try to treat and rely on companion robots as a close friend to prevent further widening their gap with society and themselves. Hence, owning a social companion robot might bring more harm than good. An example of a robot that provides companionship and does not speak is a robot called Lovot, created by a robotics venture company Groove X Inc. This company created a cute knee-high robot called Lovot whose primary function is to provide people with comfort and companionship. This robot acts like a pet dog and is specifically designed to create an emotional attachment, its only purpose is to be loved. Having such a robot will not hinder any social interaction for any individual. On the contrary, a companion robot should actually be necessary for a certain group of people but not for all. For instance, the elderly are staying alone at home. Given their circumstances, It is harder for them to go out and socialize with others. Hence, the battle against loneliness and social isolation is an important reason for social companion robots.

Loneliness and social isolation are already problems for many seniors and are even connected to cognitive decline and a greater death rate. While it is clear that a robotic companion cannot replace human interaction, where there is almost no chance for human care, a cute, interactive, and friendly robotic companion is a lot better than nothing at all. Having someone to converse with on a regular basis helps to keep an elder’s mind and body full of life and healthy. Therefore, having a companion that involves social interaction can essentially improve their physical health and mental sharpness, boost their immune system, have a more positive outlook on life, and makes them happier. When lonely elderly are happier, they will find it more motivated to live better and to participate in everyday activities as they found meaning in their life again. Another target user that would necessarily need a social robot is children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is when a person usually has, along with other issues, persistent and significant difficulties with social interaction and social communication. They feel overwhelmed by interacting face-to-face with the human.

The Yale University-led experiment was the first to utilize an autonomous robot in the home for autism. Brian Scassellati, professor of computer science, led a research study that began with a baseline assessment of the children’s skills and emotional development. A month later, a robot, called Jibo, was placed in 12 children’s homes and the children worked with the robots for 30 minutes every day for 30 days. Jibo watched the children play the games, offering directions and modeling good social behavior by turning its head and body, and making contact with their animated eyes. Jibo is able to tell stories and guide the child through a series of interactive games focused on improving social skills, emotional understanding, sequencing, and perspective. After a month, he assesses the children to measure their progress. The result shows that even without the presence of the robot, the children were noticeably better at making eye contact, improved joint attention skills with adults and initiating communication. Having a robot that aid and improvements in social interaction are indeed necessary to lead a better quality of life. All things considered, an able-bodied guy definitely does not need a companion robot as an additional way to socially interact. They should seek to interact with a person’s social contact – with relatives, spouse, friends, clubs, and other community involvement. Those social contacts are irreplaceable even if we have a social companion robot. We would not be able to connect as deeply with a robot as compared to humans.

There are research shows that those with close social ties and unhealthful lifestyles (such as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise) actually lived longer than those with poor social ties but more healthful living habits. Certainly, people with both healthful lifestyles and close social ties lived the longest of all. From this, we are able to conclude that having close social ties that are able to afford opportunities for emotionally meaningful interaction and a sense of belonging is extremely important in one’s life. Hence, to avoid over-reliant on a companion robot, having a robot should only be deemed necessary to those who truly need social interaction on a daily basis but have little to no access and a chance to it. As the capabilities of technology increase, so does our dependency on it. If the new form of interaction is with robots and machines, it would change the way we interact with humans in the future as it affects the core of our social practices which might result in profound cultural and social change. With that being said, our lives will change along with technology. Every one should find happiness with people and not with social companion robots. If everyone were to depend on social companion robots as their means of social interaction and live without physical human interaction, we are potentially losing our sense of real connection. We will all become insensitive, unfeeling, oblivious, and numb to the social cues that we would have experienced only if the conversation had been made in person. By interacting with a human, not only they can learn about others, they can only learn about themselves and what they actually value in a relationship with others. In addition, our health is actually strongly dependent on other people. Having social support and social interaction can positively influence human beings’ physical and mental health. It lowers the chances of stress, depression, and anxiety. It is important to recognize that it is no substitute for the human touch. We all need this human touch and interaction to reconnect us with reality and bring us back to a world where everything is not expectable, sensible, and controllable.

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Narrative Essay on Having a Robot. (2023, November 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/narrative-essay-on-having-a-robot/
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Narrative Essay on Having a Robot [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 20 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/narrative-essay-on-having-a-robot/
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