Interview: Can we manufacture intimacy?

Humanoid robots are here and thus we need to think about what it means to be friends with a machine

Will it ever be possible to create robots which are so human-like they will replace relationships with other people? One of the primary use-cases proposed for lifelike bots is to care for or even become companions of the lonely, the elderly, and even those with dementia or similar conditions.

This is not just sci-fi speculation – already in Japan right now there are thousands of such robots living alongside people in their homes in an effort to relieve loneliness and promote wellbeing. But can a machine ever become a friend?

I was interviewed by the Science & Eternity project, connected with the Faraday Institute, on this idea as part of a video they produced exploring the concept. You can watch it below:

The full film produced by Science & Eternity after they travelled to Japan to witness some of these developments first-hand can be seen below:

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