Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Nobody wants to end up in a nursing home, yet that's exactly what's going to happen to approximately 7% of us. If we're lucky, at least it'll be a nice nursing home. If we're not so lucky, we may end up as subjects in one of Professor William A. Banks' experiments.

In a study conducted by the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Professor Banks divided 38 nursing home residents into three groups. (This doesn't compute, but maybe one of the subjects died during the experiment) One group was allowed to visit with Sparky -- a real, live dog -- for 30 minutes each week. One group "interacted" with AIBO, a robot dog. One group -- the control group -- was presumably just left to sit and stare at the walls, as usual. This went on for seven weeks.

Professor Banks concluded that Sparky and the robot "worked almost equally well in terms of alleviating loneliness and causing residents to form attachments."

Professor Banks doesn't say so in so many words, but the implication is that nursing homes should get rid of their dogs and replace them with robots. There are cost benefits to be had. Robots don't shed. You don't have to feed them, or walk them. And this from a professor of geriatric medicine!

Bao is appalled. I am appalled.

Shame on Professor Banks. Shame on all of us.


Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

There is no way in the world people would connect better with a robot than a warm puppy!

4:45 PM


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