As a woman lies on a mattress on the floor, a small white machine attached to her outstretched right arm offers the following words:
“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.”
Jarred by the notion of someone dying in the company of a machine instead of loved ones (or at least other humans)? That’s partly the point.
On the one hand, the image “reveals the cruelty of life, lack of human support/social connections,” Dan Chen, who created the robot, tells Crave. “On the other hand, the robot becomes something that you can trust/depend on. It could give you the ‘placebo effect’ of comfort.”
This article reminds me of the two hospice pastors that are in a Bible study I attend. One of which I just recently got to know and I asked him to pray at the end of our session since I’ve never heard him pray before and thought that would be a blessing. He responded, “You know, I’ve had people die during my prayers.”