Machine parenting – can machines do it better?


Machine parenting – can machines do it better?

Machine parenting – can machines do it better?

Reading time: about a minute

There is no doubt that computers are becoming more and more sophisticated, even ‘intelligent’, and able to do – often better – many of the jobs that were previously considered the sole domain of real, live people. In fact CNN Money reported a study by the Bank of England claiming that 50% of current jobs will be replaced by machines in the next 20 to 30 years. But can robots ever parent like a real person? Surely not! Although now there is an app that takes us that one step closer: an app that tells you why your baby is crying.

Sounds genius – it is 4am, your two week-old baby is screaming, again, you have rocked, fed, changed, even taken her temperature, rocked and fed again and now you are staring morosely at the wall, thinking, ‘I have NO idea!’.  Tap on the Infant Cries Translator app, and it will tell you. This app works by scanning its database of over 200 000 recorded baby cries against your baby’s, matching the pitch and tone of your child’s wail and tell you if he is tired, hungry, in pain or needs a change. Not rocket science, but at a sleep-deprived 4am it’s tantamount to the same thing, right?

Not always. Some parents are up in arms, claiming that by relying on an app like this, you are dissociating yourself from your child. That by not learning to understand your own child’s voice, parents are setting the foundation for a rocky relationship going forward. What do you think? Genius or genuine fail?

See: This app can tell you why your baby is crying 

As an aside…Check out NPR’s ‘definitive’ guide to whether your job will be taken over by a robot in the next 20 years.