Heart-Wrenching Ad Shows Robot Companions Can't Compete With Human Connection

"Today, companion robots are being introduced to assist lonely people."

Robots are becoming more and more sophisticated each day, and the technological advances in robotics should certainly be celebrated. Japan has already implemented robots to help retirement home residents and robotic companions are currently being tested in the U.K. as well. But can robots ever actually replace a human caregiver? 

The Society of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul doesn't think so. The charity developed a powerful ad aimed at showing people that robots can't cure loneliness. 

In the ad, we're introduced to an elderly woman named Claudine and her robot companion, BEN. BEN, who's name stands for Bionically Engineered Nursing, helps Claudine with her meals and medication, wakes her up in the morning, and even dances with her. 

One morning, Claudine ignores several of BEN's attempts to wake her up. He's an intuitive caregiver who's able to tell her unresponsiveness one morning is something her doctor should be notified about. 

"BEN, I'm sorry," Claudine said. "I just needed that moment this morning." 

BEN quickly cuts her off mid-thought and asks if she wants to watch TV or dance. Claudine is clearly feeling lonely and sad, but her companion robot isn't able to pick up on that. And, he clearly can't relate like a human caregiver would be able to. So, with few options to cure her loneliness, Claudine just gives in and somberly dances with BEN. 

The ad ends with a call to action: "Today, companion robots are being introduced to assist lonely people. At Society of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, we think that only human being [sic] can help in fighting loneliness. We recruit volunteers." 

You can watch the ad in the video above. 

(H/T: Adweek