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RE: Unusual new companion for elderly


RE: Unusual new companion for elderly
by flynn23 at 2:54 pm EST, Feb 25, 2005

Palindrome wrote:
] ] As Japan produces fewer children and more retirees,
] ] toymakers are designing new dolls for the lonely elderly --
] ] companions which can sleep next to them and offer caring
] words
] ] they may never hear otherwise.
] ] The Yumel doll, which looks like a baby boy and has a
] ] vocabulary of 1,200 phrases, is billed as a "healing
] ] partner" for the elderly and goes on the market Thursday
] ] at a price of 8,500 yen (80 dollars).
] ] The 37-centimeter (15-inch) Yumel is equipped with six
] sensors and
] ] an IC chip which keep track of the owner's sleeping time.
] ] "I feel so good, g-o-o-d n-i-g-h-t," the doll says before
] ] falling asleep if the owner pats it on the chest gently.
] ] Or Yumel may ask, "Aren't you pushing yourself too hard?"
] ] when it judges the owner has been going to bed too
] ] irregularly or not spending enough time playing with it.
] ] Some customers are so much in love with the doll that
] ] they are troubled by casual questions it asks.
] ] "I thought that you need to enjoy the night together if
] ] you really hope to live with a doll."
] Does anyone else find this statement deeply disturbing?
] I find it interesting that there is such a big market for
] this. Lets get analytical about it and ask...What does that
] say about society? It just doesn't seem like a logical
] solution. Plus it would really creep me out to have a doll
] tell me when to go to sleep. I guess overall it just doesn't
] make sense to me.

Actually there is a tremendous market for this.

For one, lots of studies have shown that disenfranchised demographics (sick children, elderly, people with dibilitating illnesses or conditions) respond exceptionally well to interacting with this type of form factor than say a PC or other machine like interface.

And two, there is a considerable swelling of disenfranchised populations like above, due to the increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses, dual income families, erosion of the extended family unit, and the massively increasing senior population across the world. So yes, it's troubling that someone is more akin to interact with a doll rather than another human, the doll is a much much more pragmatic approach to dealing with all of the issues associated with managing these populations.

One of the most startling stats I recently saw was that Japan and Germany will have devestating futures if they don't change their breeding or immigration policies soon, since they are producing net decreases in population year over year. In 50 years, Japan will be 1/3 of its size based upon current trend.

RE: Unusual new companion for elderly

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