Jeffrey Young profiles MIT's Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other. On the future of robot companionship:
During her research, Turkle visited several nursing homes where residents had been given robot dolls, including Paro, a seal-shaped stuffed animal programmed to purr and move when it is held or talked to. In many cases, the seniors bonded with the dolls and privately shared their life stories with them.
"There are at least two ways of reading these case studies," she writes. "You can see seniors chatting with robots, telling their stories, and feel positive. Or you can see people speaking to chimeras, showering affection into thin air, and feel that something is amiss."