Depending On The Kindness Of Robots

Charles T. Rubin reacts to Robot Companions, developer of “soft-bodied 'perceptive’ robots as companions for the lonely,” which could win an EU competition for one billion Euros:

Strictly speaking, lonely people are those who feel they are missing human relationships. They want those relationships, at least at some level, but something in their will or their circumstances stands in the way. Imagine one society that puts time, effort and money into overcoming those impediments, and allowing people who are lonely to get real human companionship. Imagine another where some large portion of those resources is expended on giving them ways to avoid the real human companionship that defines their loneliness. Which society is actually doing more about loneliness? Which seems to be the more humane?

(Video: Alpha the Robot from 1934)