Robots for Children

Do you remember your childhood? How did you spend your time? What was your favorite thing to do? I remember playing sports and video games all day with my friends. I used to love going to school to see everybody and play with them. One thing I don’t remember being in my childhood is robots. I don’t remember developing feelings for things that don’t feel things for me. However, this may be the direction that our world is heading, The future advancement of robots is unthinkable. Already a large part in the lives of many, how much of an impact will these robots have decades or centuries down the line? Sherry Turkle covers an array of topics in her book Alone Together. One of the topics she discusses is the advancement of robots. She talked about some of the affects that these robots had on children, and how children are much more prone to developing actual feelings for the robots. She also talked about a transfer of thinking with the robots to feeling the robots. All of these ideas are very compelling and should be discussed a little bit more. Right now, it is apparent that robots are mostly affecting children’s lives. Obviously, most adults are able to understand that robots aren’t real and therefore it’s stupid to have real emotions for them. Some of the technologies/robots that Turkle talked about included the tamagotchi and the furbi. The tamagotchi is basically just a character that one must take care of through a small handheld device. The tamagotchi can’t be turned off unless it is reset. In this case, the tamagotchi that a child had created is no longer available, and a new one must be made. Most of the children do not seem to develop any emotions for the device, as they can tell it is just a screen. The furby seemed to be a different story, however. In creating the book, furby’s were taken to a group of children at school. They took the furby’s home for two weeks and some of their reactions were described. Many of the children developed actually feelings for the furby. For example, if the furby was yelling, the child got sad and wanted to cheer it up. Also, similar to the tamagotchi, the furby could not be shut down unless the batteries were taken out. The shutting down of a furby, however, created a much more emotional response for the children. When a furby had to be shut down, the children described the furby as dying. In this case, the children often had no interest in putting the batteries back in, as they thought their “real” furby had died. This idea is very powerful. It is strange to think about how some of the children reacted to these technologies. Robots will continue to advance in their possibilities, but it’s impossible to describe exactly the impact they may have in the future. This not only stands for children, but all age groups. Whether these advances are good or bad is up to you to decide. 1.”How Robots Will Change Our Lives.” CNBC. N.p., 13 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2015. <;.


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