Do Roombas Dream of Electric Sheep?: The Practical Application of Artificial Companions

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From New York Times , and

When we speak of robots, we tend to discuss mechanical taskmasters sent to the bottom of the ocean to fix broken pipes or a machine sent to diffuse a bomb. To date, robots have been used to tackle jobs deemed too dangerous or impractical for humans. But, The New York Times has been exploring a new breed of robots designed to execute emotional functions by providing companionship and even conversation.

In this conversation with Amy Harmon, national correspondent for The New York Times, we hear how science is quickly catching up with science fiction in hospitals around the world. 

Watch a video about "Paro," a robot designed like a baby seal, which provides comfort to residents of a retirement community.