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SELEMCA's Alice now in Boijmans van Beuningen

Care droid Alice is now on display at the Rotterdam museum Boijmans van Beuningen. It seems inevitable that technology is going to play an increasingly greater role in care. How about the Dutch digital care file, self-help apps for people with psychological problems and care robots for the elderly? Alice is one such care robot, designed to accompany lonely old people with dementia. She offers companionship and she can also be employed for practical help – like physical therapy – she shows emotions and can even make moral choices. Alice is in a wheelchair and needs help. While she is looked after, she also does her job. She talks to people, helps a person not to get lost – thanks to her GPS system – and renders a walker redundant. Alice removes the stigma of the illness and takes away a sense of being patronized.

It is an obvious question: can a robot provide true intimacy? And will the use of robots lead to a lessening of human contact and hence further de-socialization? As yet this does not seem to be the case. The elderly are happy with their electronic companion, who reduces their loneliness, and helps them to take good care of themselves. ‘I am Alice’ premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam on 23 January.

On view at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen from January 31 until May 10, 2015.

Source: DesignColumn.nl

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Frank Stemerding