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Last Moment Robot will guide you through to your death

Categories: Science & Technology

lastmoment01-480.jpgDan Chen's Last Moment Robot guides an individual in his or her last moments, if friends and family aren't present. (Dan Chen/pixegde.com)

"What is intimacy without humanity?"

Artist and designer Dan Chen explores the extremes of this question with a robot that guides a person through the last moments of his or her life in the absence of friends or family.

In Chen's art and concept installation called the Last Moment Hospital, visitors can take part in the Last Moment Hospital that includes a hospital bed and a man dressed as a doctor. The user enters his or her name into the computer, which then plays an end-of-life message:

"Hello [name], I am the last moment robot. I am here to help you and guide you through your last moment on earth. I am sorry that your family and friends can't be with you right now, but don't be afraid. I am here to comfort you. You are not alone, you are with me. Your family and friends love you very much, they will remember you after you are gone."

 The robot displays this message at the time of "death." (Dan Chen/pixegde.com) The Last Moment Robot includes a monitor that displays the message "End of life: detected" and an arm-like apparatus that caresses the individual's arm while in the bed.

"The process of dying is probably the most vulnerable moment of a human life, where one seeks the assurance of human connection," says Chen on his website. "In this installation, human presence is replaced it with a robot, questioning the quality of intimacy without humanity."

The Last Moment Hospital is part of Chen's art installation which includes several other exhibits and devices, such as a hugging robot and a purring machine meant to imitate a pet cat.

Chen explains these projects in File > Save As > Intimacy, his master's thesis for the Rhode Island School of Design's Department of Digital + Media.

"The desire to create relationships and environments that make us feel comfortable, provide a sense of security, and facilitate sensations of belonging is inherent to human nature," says Chen. "Human to human interaction is critical to mental and physical health, but how about human to machine interaction? Does replacing our most intimate human relationships with machine interactions rob our life of its meaning?"

Can specially designed robots or programs adequately replace human-to-human intimacy? Would you feel comforted with spending your last moments with the Last Moment Robot? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: POV, Science & Technology

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