In Norway it may become the norm that old folk are helped around the house by robots. At least, that's what's being discussed in a news report we published this week. Now I can't speak for every grandma on the planet -- and certainly not for all Norwegian grannies -- but my grandma is both brittle and, like the vast majority of pensioners, afraid of many, many things, especially technology.
I know the idea is that the robot would assist her around the house -- feeding the cat, changing sheets and dislodging Scrabble tiles from inconvenient places. But it's bound to be the first 'person' to be called when my gran's involved in a soap-related falling accident, or a jigsaw piece-related choking incident, and I'm not persuaded it would act in the most helpful, considerate fashion.
The other issue is that the elderly are not known for their abilities with repairing hardware. What happens when this friendly automaton for the ancient breaks down? How is Mrs Old meant to call the helpline when the blasted robot's the one who's supposed to dial?
While I welcome the concept of a more robot-populated household, I think any mix of old people with machinery is just a recipe for a panic-related heart condition. And we all know that robots are frequently turning evil on their flesh-and-blood overlords...