En China los robots ya cuidan a humanos

Ya estamos muy acostumbrados a ver robots en las cadenas de montaje de las fábricas, pero en China, líder mundial en la producción robótica, ya se les puede ver cuidando de ancianos en residencias, o jugando con niños en la guardería.

Un ejemplo de los nuevos roles de estos humanoides se puede encontrar en una de las mayores guarderías del país, llamada “Jardín Dorado” y situada a medio camino entre Pekín y Tianjin, donde tres robots blancos y de silueta curva, para que parezcan inofensivos a los niños, son los protagonistas de la clase.

Los niños, de cuatro y cinco años, se acercan a Keeko, que es como se llama el robot-cuidador, le cuentan distintas cosas cada uno, y él las ordena y une en un cuento al que pone música.

En la guardería, donde los niños también aprenden kung-fu o caligrafía, la idea es“combinar lo tradicional con lo moderno”, explica una de las profesoras, Gao Haiyan, y en medio de esa tarea Keeko “ayuda a mejorar la expresión oral, la lógica y la capacidad espacial de los niños“.

Keeko, cuyo diseño recuerda al Wall-E de la película homónima de Pixar, también baila con los niños, hace cuentas matemáticas y está dotado de inteligencia artificial, por lo que él también aprende con el tiempo.

“Si todos le dijeran cosas negativas las tomaría como correctas, lo que no estaría bien para los niños, así que intervenimos mucho para que las clases sean positivas”, cuenta Chen Xiaodong, responsable de la firma Xiamen Zhitong, fabricante de los robots Keeko.

El papel de Keeko en los primeros años de vida de los niños chinos contrasta con el que a 1.200 kilómetros de allí, en la ciudad oriental de Hangzhou, desempeña A-Tai, otro robot en este caso encargado de ayudar a los cuidadores de un asilo y entretener a los más de 1.300 ancianos que viven allí.

A-Tai, un poco más alto que Keeko y dotado con dos simpáticas antenas azules, es capaz de cantar ópera tradicional china, la música favorita de muchos ancianos, y de llamar por teléfono a los parientes de los residentes.

Da también conversación a los ancianos -aunque a veces no les entiende, porque algunos no hablan mandarín estándar- y su labor más importante es la de recordar a los ancianos y enfermeros qué pastillas toma y cuándo lo hace cada interno, algo de gran ayuda en un centro de mayores de enorme tamaño como este de Hangzhou.

El creador de los A-Tai, Shen Jianchun, opina que un día sus “obras” reemplazarán a los cuidadores, aunque en la guardería de Pekín hay mas dudas sobre si Keeko, o una versión avanzada de éste que ya se está preparando, será algún día el único profesor de los niños.

“El robot es muy avanzado, pero un maestro tiene emociones, que es indispensable enseñar a los niños”, opina la profesora Gao.

De manera similar se expresa el inventor de Keeko, Guo Changchen, quien dedicó tres años al desarrollo del robot de guardería y reconoce que son los humanos los que han de guiar a los niños, aunque “al explicarles lo que es la primavera, el robot puede ofrecer más materiales que un maestro“.

China entró tarde al mundo de la robótica, pero en pocos años se puso al día y se ha convertido en líder mundial en producción de estos seres futuristas, algo promocionado por la campaña estatal “Made in China 2025”, que quiere convertir al gigante asiático en líder mundial de la alta tecnología en todos sus aspectos.

En 2016 China instaló, principalmente en fábricas, 90.000 nuevos robots, un tercio del total mundial y un 30 % más que en el año anterior, aunque aún hay mucho potencial si se tiene en cuenta que sólo hay en el país 49 robots por cada 10.000 trabajadores, 10 veces menos que Corea del Sur, el país más “robotizado”.

También comienzan a desarrollarse, y a aparecer tímidamente en las calles chinas, robots policía capaces de regular el tráfico: la ciencia ficción está cada vez más cerca en China, de la mano de la robótica y la inteligencia artificial.


EFE

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