When Robots Provide the Care

When Robots Provide the Care

To the Editor:

Re “Would You Let a Robot Take Care of Your Mom?,” by Maggie Jackson (Op-Ed, Dec. 14):

Since I have loved C-3PO and R2-D2 for most of my adult life, I would welcome them as cyborg friends — or even caregivers — as I pass into my dotage.

Those original “Star Wars” characters are the ultimate in benevolent artificial intelligence, unlike HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

I trust that our children will know the difference and remember their mother’s preferences, if and when the time comes to engage robotic help to care for me.

Wyn Lydecker
Darien, Conn.

To the Editor:

Given the vast majority of adults I encounter who cannot walk from one room to another, go to the bathroom, eat a meal or leave the house without clutching a smartphone for support, it takes no leap of faith to expect someone socially isolated by dementia to find comfort in a robot cat.

I think that the roboticists should be studying people who can’t go anywhere without their phones.

Lois Berkowitz
Oro Valley, Ariz.

To the Editor:

Robotic “comfort animals” would be a lot easier on a plane full of passengers than comfort dogs or pigs. And if a robot cat can lower Mom’s blood pressure just like a real cat, and also be less of a tripping hazard, then there is something to be said for this “deception technology.”

Emily Adelsohn Corngold
Pasadena, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “States Unequal in Preparation for the Census” (front page, Dec. 16):

The census is one issue that should be held above the blue state versus red state dynamic. Many cities and towns in the Midwest and the South have been transformed by immigrants. If they do not respond in significant numbers, the communities they live in will be shortchanged for federal dollars for infrastructure projects — like bridge repairs, school construction and hospital renovations — and support services like Medicaid and addiction prevention.

This hurts all of us, regardless of political affiliation or citizenship status.

Foundations and nonprofits in communities across the country have already been stepping forward to provide funding to help ensure that we have an accurate count. We also need to continue to push for our state and local government leaders to put more support behind these efforts.

Advocacy by foundations and nonprofits helped secure $40 million in funding here in New York City, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo kicked in an additional $20 million statewide. We must continue the fight to address the obvious needs we face in 2020.

Patricia A. Swann
New York
The writer is a senior program officer at the New York Community Trust and chair of the New York State Census Equity Fund.

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