Seriously, This Robot That Comforts Dying People Is The Most Awful Thing Ever Invented
I haven't even watched the video, and I started writing this piece. Not because it's funny – it ain't. Rather, it's the most depressing thing you could ever imagine. Yes, more depressing than the first ten minutes of 'Up'.
Dan Chen invented a robot that is designed to comfort people as they lie in their final moments of life. Perhaps most troubling is the fact that some people would need this because there isn't a single person around to keep them company during the most haunting, scariest moments of their existence. Or maybe that a person would want the robot and not a person.
Nope. That's not the most awful part. The most awful part is what the robot does. Cribbed from Geekologie (thanks, guys), these three excerpts give you an idea of what the actual actions and purpose of this robot is. Here ya go.
Once the patient lies down and the device is activated, LEDs display the words "Detecting end of life." At this point, the "doctor" exits the room, leaving the patient alone. Within moments, the LEDs read "End of life detected," and the robotic arm begins its back-and-forth caressing action...
"The device is meant to raise questions," he says. "The process of dying is probably the most vulnerable moment of a human life, where one seeks the assurance of human connection. In this installation, human presence is replaced with a robot, questioning the quality of intimacy without humanity."
"I am the Last Moment Robot. I am here to help you and guide you through your last moment on Earth. I am sorry that your family and friends can't be with you right now, but don't be afraid. I am here to comfort you. You are not alone, you are with me. Your family and friends love you very much, they will remember you after you are gone."
Ahhhhh! Someone took the idea of a hospice and made it a million billion times worse. Way to go, Dan Chen. 32 years on this earth, and your invention has made me more sad about death.
Here's the damn video: