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Govít plans to use robots to care for elderly people
« on: June 18, 2019, 01:59:07 pm »
Govít plans to use robots to care for elderly people

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The government plans to have 5,000 robots working to look after Koreaís rapidly aging population by 2023, three years before the country becomes a hyper-aging society in 2026.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Monday held a joint forum on dolbom, or care, in Korean robotics in preparation for a hyper-aging society, when more than 20 percent of the population is over 65.

The Industry and Energy Ministry said it will work on improving systems so that robotic technologies can be developed quickly enough so that 5,000 elderly care-related robots can be distributed by 2023. Additionally, in speeding up the spread of such robots, the government is planning to adopt a financial service system where these robots could be rented or leased to reduce the burden of cost.

Elderly care robots could perform any number of tasks from surgery to physical support and even be wearables. The government particularly noted growing demand for such professional help due to the changing demographic. However, because of the intensity of the job and the shortage of people working in the industry, the burden on caregivers helping elderly people and those with disabilities is increasing.

The swift application of robotic technologies that can ease that burden is essential.

ďWe expect that this forum will not only help the robotic industry to grow, but will also give hope to nurses and caretakers who face many difficulties [in tending to elderly people and people with disabilities],Ē said Choi Nam-ho, director general of the ministryís manufacturing industry department.

The Health and Welfare Ministry said it will run small groups under the Dolbom Robot Network with both government departments as well as researchers and potential users continuously communicating on various issues including verifying the cost effectiveness of the robots that are in development.

As of 2017, Korea is already an aged society with 14 percent of its population 65 years old or older. It only took 17 years for Korea to transition from an aging society, where only 7 percent are 65 or older, to an aged one. According to Statistics Korea, Koreaís transition from being an aging population to aged population is seven years faster than that of Japan.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

If there's one thing elderly people in need of care can appreciate, it's complicated, prone-to-failure technology like robots.

Most people on website waygook.org know that I'm generally not too negative about most things here, but this is literally the stupidest and also least compassionate thing I've ever heard of. First of all, we're a long way away from having robots who can autonomously do something like flipping burgers, nevertheless something complex like surgery. As anyone who's ever seen the 'robots' operating in the airport knows, they're not really able to do anything, and the majority of time it seems like they're malfunctioning or out of operation for whatever reason. Using robots to care for the rapidly increasing elderly population is ridiculous.

Plus, elderly people generally aren't comfortable with technology like self-ordering kiosks at restaurants. So something complex like a robot is going to be much more of a burden than a help.

Imagine encouraging some of the vast number of unemployed to go into the care field. Maybe if it wasn't treated as a minimum wage job, minimum respect career, more young people might be inclined to look into it.

Or just use 5,000 half-baked robots and call the problem solved.



  • HappyPlanetAbuser
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Re: Govít plans to use robots to care for elderly people
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2019, 04:05:19 pm »
There have been a few promising trials, they're mainly used as a social companion which would ask you questions after an algorithm recognised you were showing signs of depression or to assist caretakers with the heavy lifting/ bathing.

Some had become so attached to their robot they cried when the trial had finished and the robots were taken away. It was also successful in the socialisation of lonely adults with Down syndrome.

You also mentioned LTU as a solution, but in the current labour shortages market those people are unemployed either for good reason or simply out of choice. People who try to get back into the getting up early routine, often don't show up for these govt. schemes the following days, which is why Poles are left doing the work instead. Out of 600 people on benefits, bussed in daily from cities to work in greenhouses, only 19 remained after a month in 2013.

A few years ago, many job seekers were on TV claiming 'They'd be willing to do any job, just to not be holding their hands up, you know, livin'on the dole isn't what they wanted', but numbers of LTU  have only increased, which they now feverishly blame on Polish immigrants. In reality, no purebred white British citizen wants to get up early and pick apples for increasingly desperate British farmers. (or European ones).If after Brexit these immigrants are leaving would any of them on benefits take up serving people or making sandwiches at a Subway? Who is going to get up early if they can point at their 5 kids and say: ''Wut 'bout them, then? If the council would give me enuf monies for me daycare bills I'd work anywhere, I would!'' ;D

« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 09:06:54 pm by HappyPlanetAbuser »
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  • The Legend

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Re: Govít plans to use robots to care for elderly people
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2019, 11:36:41 pm »
They're already' doing this in Japan where they don't have the manpower to deal with the elderly.

As its elderly increase, Korea may well face that problem as well as one of funding since the national insurance scheme now covers long-term care.

And of course they see it as a business opportunity to manufacture and sell robots  to other countries.


  • HappyPlanetAbuser
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Re: Govít plans to use robots to care for elderly people
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2019, 01:32:53 am »
oh yes, they're indeed from Japan. You're right!
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  • Aristocrat
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Re: Govít plans to use robots to care for elderly people
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2019, 07:43:05 am »
Honestly, I see this as just another doomed mickey mouse plan that goes right up there with the robot English teachers that were supposed to replace us years ago.

Korea is a place where you have plenty of creative, well-educated young folk with the ability and drive to use those strategies and skills to tackle the problems Korea is facing... Then, you have the AIC (Ajeoshi In Charge), the latter being the decision maker and having these hair-brained ideas of fixing everything with a 'modern' solution. Modern solution being to use robots, VR or drones to solve everything from air pollution to dirty dishes in the sink. There seems to be this festering insecurity of associating Korea with its poverty-stricken past, so everyone needs to see that Korea only uses shiny, high-tech and digital solutions to problems.

Here's my timeline:

- Robot with little dog ears and an annoying 'aegyo' voice gets created
- Cheesy ribbon cutting ceremony and press conference with AIC showing off robots capabilities
- Audience laughs and applauds the adorable display, AIC and robot pose for photo op
- A few robots make it to elderly centres
- Nobody can figure out how to use them, they're cumbersome and more of a headache than anything, they break down and get
  put in the storeroom.
- The AIC got his photo op and the issue is considered resolved till the 2nd coming.


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Re: Govít plans to use robots to care for elderly people
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2019, 08:19:25 am »
I've recently come to think we may see a reunification of some sort of the two Koreas in our lifetime because of this very issue.

South Korea will desperately need a young, tax paying underclass one to two decades from now. Unlike Japan which will have to deal with importing "foreign labour", they (SK) have a ready supply of that workforce sitting barely 50km from Seoul. In addition the task of developing NK over the next few decades would provide much needed "middle management office work" opportunities so many young people from the south crave have been deprived of.

The NK population would struggle to adapt to the fast paced work culture, but I'd imagine their younger population would adapt fairly quickly. And moreover, you'd have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of cheap, ready-to-be-trained government labour that could essentially be assigned to taking care of the SK elderly. In addition to the revitalisation of rural SK communities.

If the NK elites manage to get themselves a sweet deal out of this (cushy corporate positions, little to no prosecution for past atrocities, land and property etc), the only real *and biggest* obstacle would be China.

But first, we gotta have those dumb robots lol.


Re: Govít plans to use robots to care for elderly people
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2019, 10:12:45 am »
Robots are coming to all phases of health care, everywhere. The simple fact is that human nurses won't be equipped with 500 diagnostic tools built into them and the ability to see beyond the visual light spectrum and pick up on sounds beyond the normal range of hearing. Plus they'll have built-in entertainment systems that operate based on vocal command.