Can robot nannies really replace the real thing?

Many of us dream of having a robot assistant that can supersonically complete the more mundane chores of daily life. Although technology is developing every year, this dream remains elusive – no dusting maids, no waiting butlers occupy the average household. However, an altogether more complex task usually reserved for caregivers and domestic staff may be delegated to our robotic companions in the near future.

According to recent reports, there is a new robot on the scene – the “robot nanny”, and it may soon be making its way into urban households. According to Mobile Mag, these affordable robots will be able to “bottle-feed babies, change diapers, and even iron the kids’ clothes.” Created by Avatar Mind, the new robot nanny is called iPal and is equipped with the mind (learning engine) of an adult but with the general conversational capacities of a four- to eight-year-old, allowing it to better relate to the child.

“The robot’s mind is also set to remember a child’s likes and dislikes and uses this knowledge to improve conversation”, says Mobile Mag. “Its super brain is also keen on always researching on the internet to learn more about topics that are interesting to the child.” Avatar Mind claim that not only is the robot created to take care of a child while handling minor tasks like ironing and folding  clothes, but is also able to replace the hours of digital entertainment many children are exposed to in the modern day.

But can robots really replace nannies?

In her article for The Week, Ruth Margolis emphasises that, although the idea of her children playing with an interactive robot rather than staring at a screen is appealing, it is important to remember that: “iPal is designed exclusively for the three-plus set and it’s a glorified toy rather than a robot sitter. You shouldn’t actually leave a child — of any age — in its care.” Agreeing with this sentiment, QZ says, “The robot essentially serves as a glorified baby monitor and that’s perhaps its most useful feature: it not only keeps children engaged, but gives parents the power to check on children remotely and even video chat with them through the tablet embedded in the iPal’s chest, which runs Android applications. In the future, the robot could provide a convenient lens for caregivers to look over children with special needs or the aging elderly population at times when they cannot be physically present.”

Despite its potentials, even Avatar Mind themselves insist that “it cannot replace a babysitter.” Madeline Duva, an adviser to the company, says that iPal ought to only be used to occupy a child for a brief period. Similarly, as QZ report, researchers from University of Lisbon have found that children need actual human role models to help them develop cultural values, master a sense of morality. No matter how sophisticated robots become, they cannot replicate the social values that a real human nanny will pass on to children in their care.

Mobile Mag points out that other experts are concerned that long-term exposure to robots instead of humans may cause some psychological effects on the child. They also ask:

“While that may seem like a good thing given that robot nannies don’t need to call in sick or ask for vacation leave, there are other important aspects to consider. How will iPal react if a fire breaks out? Can it squish poisonous spiders nearing the child? What will it do if the child is choking?”

These questions remain unanswered, so Mobile Mag suggests that, rather than investing in the risks of a robot, “it’s time to give your present human nanny a pay raise and better sick leave benefits.” If you are in need of household staff or nannies, remember that only human beings can truly understand your family’s unique needs and provide the human contact that children need to grow into fulfilled adults. A nanny agency will be able to find the perfect employee to not only fulfil all of the daily chores as efficiently as any computerised being, but also provide the empathy and bond that a growing family needs. We may be in the computer age, but there are some things that code cannot replace.

Norland Nannies, where are they now?

Nanny

After starring in the ITV documentary “Britain’s Poshest Nannies” in 2014, Norland College has become one of the most famous childcare colleges in the world. Following the journey of Set 36, a group of students learning the academic foundations and practical skills of becoming a prestigious nanny and preparing for high-end employment, the show was watched by millions of viewers who were intrigued by the traditional yet pioneering training these aspiring nannies received.

But, from deciding on the right family to join to searching for the perfect nanny agency to represent them, the Norland graduates had many challenges to take on after the series went off air. So, where are the Norland Nannies now?

Continue reading

Saving money versus saving time

Stress, fatigue, frustration. These can all be symptoms of something very common in our busy, “too little time” worlds.nanny reading to children

Are you doing too much of the wrong thing?

The time value in money may be financial calculation that involves the benefits of savings, investment and accrued interest, but in real-life scenarios, the value of money and time asks a different question. Can you make more money with the time saved by hiring someone else to do the job?

Some argue you can simplify your life by paying someone else to do it for you. If a task will take you three hours to complete, how much money could you have earned in those same three hours? If you can earn more than you’d have to pay, then it is time to call someone.

House Cleaning Services

Working all day only to come home to an untidy house is never fun. Neither are those weekends dedicated to the deep clean. An investment in cleaners or even household staff could prevent this headache.

Think about all the times you pick things up or see a sink full of dishes. What about the loft or stream clean treatments in the bathroom? Hiring cleaners may be a way to save a host of hours. Embrace the feeling of walking into a clean home – each and every day.

Nanny Services

For many families, the choice to hire a nanny ticks a number of boxes. It is developmentally important for the child to be in familiar surroundings, and there is the advantages of one-on-one care, as well as other positives. When looking at your day, how often do you rush from work to get to the nursery before it closes? Is your work schedule dependent on the nursery’s opening and shut hours?

In measuring your time and money value, you can determine whether a nanny is the right solution. You can decide whether the freedom and flexibility makes sense for your family. And the right experienced nanny agency in London can help meet your needs and expectations in finding the right person.

Image Credit: Mark Baylor (flickr.com)