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Will robots make good friends? Scientists are already starting to find out

By Tony Prescott, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of the Sheffield Robotics Institute, University of Sheffield
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In the 2012 film “Robot and Frank”, the protagonist, a retired cat burglar named Frank, is suffering the early symptoms of dementia. Concerned and guilty, his son buys him a “home robot” that can talk, do household chores like cooking and cleaning, and reminds Frank to take his medicine. It’s a robot the likes of which we’re getting closer to building in the real world.

The film follows Frank, who is initially appalled by the idea of living with a robot, as he gradually…


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