Can 'robots' ever replace human carers?
As pressure to reduce funding continues to increase, the use of digital assistants and assistive technologies become more attractive and necessary as elements of cost cutting in the provision of care. They have the potential to ensure that there is sufficient support available to a growing community of elderly and vulnerable people.
I've written before about some of the amazing advances in this new world of artificial intelligence assistants. It's clear that these futuristic approaches may be able, in time, to reduce the quantity of human carers required to support those in need and therefore the cost.
In Japan these measures are already well under way with AI assistants dispensing medication, delivering meals and supporting people to become more mobile. Trials have also been run showing some encouraging results by working to provide 'companionship' to dementia sufferers and as non-judgemental assistants to people living with autism.
There may be some kinds of care interactions that 'robots' and AI carers can almost certainly never provide. There are though, some real advances in the skills available from digital assistants and other technological possibilities. These new approaches and tools have the potential to give vulnerable and disabled people opportunities to achieve independence in their lives which might never seemed possible in the near past.
ubu has been anticipating, identifying and championing this probable shift and advance in the provision of care for some time now. We are constantly assessing the practical viability of these new approaches. Throughout ubu, people have been trying out and testing them at home, in our supports and at our central Hub office in Harrogate where our team members come for training and support.