September 17, 2020
Volume 24, Number 33
CARESSES, a study that is jointly funded by the European Union and the Japanese government, has been ongoing for the past three years. The acronym stands for “Culture-Aware Robots and Environmental Sensory Systems for Elderly Care”. Robots are being tested to provide emotional support to seniors in long-term care facilities.
Using artificial intelligence these robots carry on meaningful and “culturally specific” conversations with the elderly. Studies have found that in just 18 hours of interaction over two weeks residents of care facilities show “a small but positive impact on loneliness severity”, as well as “a significant improvement in their mental health” (UPI). (To see a short video about this project, click here.)
You and I may cringe at the idea of conversing with a robot, but we’re not affected by isolation like those in senior care facilities. In the best of times they feel cut off by family and friends, but the current COVID-19 pandemic has totally removed them from their normal support systems. That’s why CARESSES is such an important project. Within 2-3 years robots are expected to become another resource for such needs.
The world around us is constantly changing, a fact you’re at least aware of as I am. But one thing will never change, and that is the personal care of our heavenly Father.
Psalm 34 was written by David (the inscription tells us) when he was in the midst of the enemy Philistines (1 Samuel 21). In this tense situation David wrote, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). He later spoke of this blessing being available to all: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry … The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:15,17).
David lived about 3,000 years ago; how can Christians in the 21st century claim those words as a promise for themselves? Peter gives us that good news in 1 Peter 3:12 when he quoted Psalm 34 as still being in effect. God still listens to His people!
No, God doesn’t employ robots in dispensing “personal” care. He doesn’t even use His angels in this task; He does it Himself. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6,7). “He cares for you” – what a wonderful promise!
Inside our lonely room we hear a knock at the door. Is it a robot on its programmed route to show personal care? No, someone who truly cares is knocking: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Now that’s personal!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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