] 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.
I understand the market and am very aware that it is there. I am simple sad that this need exists. Also as you pointed out this seems like a big red flag to several huge issues for the future of these countries.
RE: Unusual new companion for elderly