AI News, Why Co-Parenting With Telepresence Robots Could Be a Fantastic Idea

Why Co-Parenting With Telepresence Robots Could Be a Fantastic Idea

Attaching your device to a projector generally helps, but a single purpose telepresence robot (hopefully with lots of fake buttons so they can’t figure out how to turn it off) could also be the solution.

Kids don’t like to sit still: If your child doesn’t have the gift of the gab today, sometimes adult-like turn-taking conversations become dull and they might not talk to you for very long.

Robots should not replace real parents:This might seem like a ridiculous newspaper headline from a dystopian future, but it is important to understand here that the purpose of social and socially-augmenting robots is to connect people, not replace human connection.

Social networks don’t replace in-person friendships and direct conversation, and similarly, parents should not use telepresence robots as an excuse to stay late at work every night or just watch sports/do their nails when they come home.

When someone goes out of town, that’s often a chance for the other parent to be in charge — so maybe don’t interrupt homemade pizza night with a super cool robot just when the kids were about to put on the toppings.

Robots as mediators:Thinking back to the alienation of affection by robot (lawyers should have a field day with that one in custody battles), could a robot have a role in improving parent-to-parent or parent-to-child communication?

Applications for marriage therapy:Related to the above, perhaps annotated interaction logs (or extracted quotes?) could be sampled in marriage therapy or individual counseling to help peoplelearn to improve their communication patterns.

However, these robots would be transmitting lots of personalized data, and just like with data-driven analysis, which is helping us solve problems from image classification to financial markets, I would expect future therapy practices to benefit from life-habits analysis.

Just like when people thought they would never use credit cards on the internet, and now 75 percent of us do our holiday shopping online, people will get used to managing data privacy for social devices and general technology.

Robots with social capabilities also raise particular privacy concerns: If the robot had some local intelligence or conversational capabilities, it might easily convince a small child or the other parent to reveal personal information as they bond with the system itself.

(So much more to say on this topic, but let’s save robot social manipulation for a future post.) Remote co-parenting could leverage embodiment to help remote parents feel closer to their children via spatial games, singular use devices, and improved engagement.

Its risks include bad physical designs (in terms of both safety and interaction), misuse by parents who meant better but find it easier to call via robot than to come home early, or other parents who also use it to stalk their partner (“Whosepair of shoes are thosebehind that door?”).

Co-Parenting with Tele-Presence Robots

If I had a tele-presence robot, I could control the view myself, either moving the base, ideally an omnidirectional robot so I can rotate in place, or moving an actuated head.

Attaching your device to a projector generally helps, but a single purpose tele-presence robot (hopefully with lots of fake buttons so they can’t figure out how to turn it off) could also be the solution.

Robots Should Not Replace Real Parents: This might seem like a ridiculous newspaper headline from a dystopian future, but it is important to understand here that the purpose of social and socially-augmenting robots is to connect people, not replace human connection.

Social networks don’t replace in-person friendships and direct conversation, and similarly, parents should not use telepresence robots as an excuse to stay late at work every night or just watch sports /do their nails when they come home.

When someone goes out of town, that’s often a chance for the other parent to be in charge — so maybe don’t interrupt homemade pizza night with a super cool robot just when the kids were about to put on the toppings.

Cornell researcher Guy Hoffman (et al.) studied mediated telepresence between conflict-ridden couples [pdf], including a robotic telepresence that cowered when someone spoke in angry tones.

However, these robots would be transmitting lots of personalized data, and just like data-driven analysis is helping us solve problems from image classification to financial markets, so I would expect future therapy practices to benefit from life-habits analysis.

Just like people who thought they would never use credit cards on the internet, now do 75% of their holiday shopping online, so data privacy will include with social devices and general technology.

Robots with social capabilities also cue particular privacy concerns: if the robot had some local intelligence or conversational capabilities, it might easily convince a small child or the other parent to reveal personal information as they bond with the system itself… (So much more to say, but let’s save robot social manipulation for a future post.) Remote co-parenting could leverage embodiment to help remote parents feel closer to their children via embodiment, spatial games, singular use devices, and improved engagement.

Its risks include bad physical designs (in terms of both safety and interaction), misuse by parents who meant better but find it easier to call via robot than to come home early, or other parents who also use it to stalk their partner (“who’s pair of shoes are those, behind that door?”).

How Robots Could Help Chronically Ill Kids Attend School

Over the past century, American schools have integrated an ever-more-diverse group of students.

These homebound students, who may have cancer, heart disease, immune system disorders or other illnesses, appear to be the last excluded population in the U.S. education system.

The homebound child operates the robot from home, setting a rolling camera-speaker-screen in motion to engage in small group discussions, travel from classroom to classroom, join friends at recess or lunch break and even attend after-school and extracurricular activities, such as choir or Boy Scouts.

One teacher in our study said the robot helps a remote student academically because “he needs to know his fractions [for] when he comes back to school.”

Often, the best these students can hope for is that their school district will send a traveling teacher to their home to provide individual tutoring for one to five hours per week.

In California, for example, if a district sends a tutor for a total of five hours per week to a student’s house, the district will get the same amount of money as if that student were in class for five full days.

And California districts do not receive any funding for students using telepresence robots, even if a student were to use a robot to attend class all day every day of the week.

Many school districts tell us they are worried that the robot’s camera, which projects classroom events but does not record them, could allow parents or other adults in the home to observe classroom instruction and perhaps critique it.

If educators and policymakers believe chronically ill students have a right to attend their local schools via robot, they will create legislation and policies that meet the learning needs of these students.

Recently a bill was introduced in the Maryland state legislature that would help public schools purchase telepresence robots or other remote-participation systems for chronically ill students who are not able to attend class in person.

As these robots become more widely used, formal objective studies of their use in schools should help teachers and administrators feel more comfortable using the systems, and allay privacy and other concerns about allowing two-way video access into classrooms.

Robots in education are here. And they aren’t going anywhere

Not so very long ago, the idea of having robots in our children’s classrooms may have seemed farfetched –

In fact, it has already arrived at various schools around the world, with teachers starting to experiment with ways in which robots can add value to their teaching methods.

With this robot, the sick child can basically represent himself in a different location from where he is and move around as if he were actually physically present, allowing him to continue attending classes.

Because the VGo is remote controlled, it enables the sick student to move, talk, hear, see and interact independently, without any input of help from the children in the classroom.

With the use of telepresence robots, students living in remote parts of the world where it’s difficult to find qualified teachers will still be able to get good quality education.

Whether via voice, vision or touch, NAO offers a wide range of possible interactions and fun, educational applications specifically written to meet the needs of autistic children.

The fact that robot applications constantly change and evolve and that it’s basically a platform for educators and students to manipulate, means that students are not very likely to ever get tired of them.

Children learn by doing and hands-on activities such as designing, building, programming (even if they don’t write any code) and then watching their creation come alive is what keeps them engaged.

Robotics classes focus on building and strengthening cognitive development, computer science and fundamental mechanical engineering concepts and the students learn strategic and goal-oriented thinking, communication skills, math and other academic subjects.

They apply computational thinking and higher-order thinking, which are critical skills in engineering and science fields and other professional areas that will be in high demand in the next decade.

Research has indicated that if children don’t form positive attitudes towards science, technology, engineering and math in the early years of their lives, they often find it complex to engage with STEM later on.

Early findings from the study indicated that even preschool learners managed to make drawings of their robot classmates that explained how the robot receives its coded messages.

This transition will be helped along by robots and robotics, giving the increasingly remote and digital classroom a somewhat ‘human’ face – albeit in the form of a tablet moving around in a remote-controlled frame on wheels.

The ultimate goal is also not for the robot to replace the human teacher but rather to function as an assistant, adding value by providing an engaging and stimulating educational tool.

Thanks To Telepresence Robots, Kids Can Attend School From Home

Cloe was the first elementary school student in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County school system to use a telepresence robot, but other students in the district have used them as well. Double estimates that there are about 300 of its devices in use in schools around the world, and another robot-maker, the Cambridge, Mass.-based VGo, has delivered approximately 800 of its own telepresence bots to schools.

(The devices cost about $3,000, with a small discount available to people who use them for educational purposes.) He and his colleagues initially didn’t know how the robots would fare, but Double Robotics has found that after the initial novelty wears off, the machines and the students who use them usually fit into schools quite well.

The machines, usually paid for either with funding for students with special needs or from grants and donations, allow students who might otherwise be socially isolated to stay in touch and even make eye contact with classmates and teachers.

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