Geek Issues: Is The Last Moment Robot Appropriate?

RantTechby Mick Joest

We will all die someday, and while the thought of lying in a hospital bed surrounded by family in friends is a touching scene, it's not always what happens. Dan Chen, creator of The End Of Life Care Machine has introduced a possible solution to this problem. At the time of your death a machine gently rocks your arm and speaks to you as you take your last breaths.

Hello (name)  I am the last moment robot.
I am here to help you and guide you through your last moment on earth. 
i am sorry that (pause) your family and friends can't be with you right now, but don't be afraid. I am here to comfort you. (pause)
you are not alone, you are with me. (pause)
Your family and friends love you very much, they will remember you after you are  gone.  (pause) 

In addition to it's bedside manner, the machine is also capable of recording a specific time of death and making the bed after the person is removed. Is the robot intended to replace human interaction? No, as stated on the site, the intent would be solely for placebo for any patient experiencing discomfort on their departure to what lies beyond. Is this a viable solution for the lonely dying in our hospitals?

On the one hand I see a scared individual, sitting in a bed knowing their time is near. They are scared, in a room full of strangers, and feel little reassurance that everything will truly be okay. While the voice is metallic and lacking the human emotion, the words are gentle reminders that all is well. Yes, your family will remember you, you are not alone, and you are loved. All this serves as comfort to a departing individual.

Conversely I imagine a dank and dark room. The nurse hasn't come back for hours and won't be returning. Instead here you are alone and strapped to an electronic machine which serves as a constant reminder that you are alone. Upon mention of your family you are reminded of past slights, transgressions, and overwhelming guilt knowing there is nothing you can do now. You wish things could have changed, that you could change, but lack the strength and the time to do so. You pass in anguish as the metallic voice cuts through your final moments on Earth.

There are certainly two sides to this argument, and I'm certainly curious to hear Mr. Chen's thoughts on this. Would robot bedside manner comfort you in your final hours? Or would you prefer the supervision of another individual?

Email Me: Twitter: @MickJoest

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