Written by IEEE | October 26, 2020 | Updated: October 27, 2021
Generation AI 2020: Health, Wellness and Technology in a Post-COVID World is a global IEEE study that reveals the confidence Millennial parents with Generation Alpha children (under 11-years-old) in the U.S., U.K., India, China and Brazil may have in AI and emerging technologies for the health and wellness of their families.
Why focus on these demographic groups? Millennials continue to be significant in size and influence globally, and Generation Alpha is considered the most tech-infused ever. Learn how the integration of technologies in their lives is benefiting their well-being.
Robots, Disinfecting, Social Distancing and Dining
Self-driving cleaning robots have also been deployed during the pandemic for various tasks, from disinfecting areas using ultraviolet lights and scrubbing floors, helping to maintain safe environments for essential workers and the public.
A majority of those surveyed globally (89%) have at least some trust in robots to clean or sanitize public spaces such as a transportation center, movie theater, restaurant or school, before entering to ensure it is safe, with 44% having complete trust.
To minimize overcrowding, maintain social distancing and help curb the spread of COVID-19, sensor technologies and apps that indicate the number of people in a specific location are being implemented in public entertainment and cultural venues.
While 46% of respondents strongly agree (and 82% agree) globally that they would trust sensor technology to accurately indicate the flow of people in and out of public spaces, fewer (38%) strongly agree that they would only patronize theaters using this technology.
Across countries, 71% agree they would not visit venues such as theaters until there is a wide distribution of an effective vaccine. Those in India are most likely to agree (83%) that they will not visit venues such as theaters until there is wide distribution of an effective vaccine. Those in the U.S. are least likely to agree (63%).
To foster health and safety, talking autonomous robots working alongside human waitstaff are being used in some restaurants to detect and monitor how far apart guests are and when needed, telling them to maintain social distance and stay six feet apart. Notably, 48% of those surveyed globally say they strongly agree that they are likely to listen to a human restaurant worker who tells them to socially distance, and 41% strongly agree that they are likely to listen to a robot.
Telehealth and AI-Powered Nurses for Kids
Telehealth, AI and remote monitoring tools are helping nursing expand care beyond in-person bedside monitoring creating a practically virtual nurse. About half of parents globally in 2020 (54%) are extremely or very comfortable leaving their child in the care of an AI-powered virtual nurse during a hospital stay. Parents’ sentiment regarding leaving their child with an AI virtual nurse varies across countries: 52% of parents in the U.K. are extremely or very comfortable; 50% of parents in Brazil are extremely or very comfortable, 69% of parents in India are extremely or very comfortable and 71% of parents in China are extremely or very comfortable, while just 29% of American parents are extremely or very comfortable.
3D Printed Heart Implants for Children
During the pandemic, 3D printing has been used to innovatively create personal protective equipment, medical devices and testing. Researchers are also using 3D printing technologies to develop organs, including hearts that use human cells, collagen and biological molecules, since human donor organ availability can mean the difference between life and death.
Nearly two in three (63%) Millennial parents globally are at least very comfortable with allowing a properly tested/fully functional 3D printed heart to be implanted in their child if needed, though about one in 10 (11%) are not comfortable at all.
Nearly one quarter of U.S. parents (23%) are more conservative and not comfortable at all allowing a 3D printed heart to be implanted in their child.
Robot Surgery for Children and Chatbot Diagnoses
Surgical robots powered by artificial intelligence are bringing new innovations and accuracy to the operating room. Globally, a majority of Millennial parents are extremely (29%) or very (31%) likely to allow robots powered by AI to conduct surgery on their child. Though parents in China are very (63%) and extremely (26%) likely to allow robotic surgery on their child, 41% of American parents say they are not likely at all to allow it. In addition, 64% of those surveyed say they would be extremely or very likely to chat online with an AI and speech recognition-powered chatbot to diagnose their sick child.
Self-Driving School Buses Provide Universal Stress Relief
Around the world children are learning remotely via virtual classes, attending school in person or a combination of both. No matter what the scenario, juggling work and transporting kids to school on time can be stressful for parents and children. Self-driving school buses are being piloted around the world, and 58% of parents globally are extremely or very likely to allow their child to take such transportation to minimize their stress, if tested as safe and staffed by a caretaker robot.
Virtual Reality Visitation — Today and Tomorrow
Around the world COVID-19 suspended many person-to-person interactions, though virtual reality (VR) technology visiting systems that create photographic and realistic real-time simulations of meeting in-person have been used in COVID-19 isolation wards, allowing people to virtually visit sick family members. Knowing VR visitation technology may be more widely used in many ways in the future, such as nursing homes and intensive care units, a majority of those surveyed globally (85%) say they would use a VR visiting system while 8% would only visit in person.
Parents Welcome Robot Help with Child Care and Homework
The pandemic has created stressful challenges for families, with parents working, managing their children’s online learning and daily household needs. Meanwhile, AI is giving life to physically moving, walking and talking robots becoming more adept at conveying affection and compassion.
According to the survey, if they had the means, a majority (66%) of parents globally agree they would adopt a robot nanny to take care of their children while working remotely from home. More than half of American parents agree (54%) that having a robot nanny to help their children do their homework would alleviate a significant amount of their COVID-19-related stress, though 39% disagree. Among U.K. parents over two-thirds (68%) agree and over one-quarter (27%) disagree; nearly three-quarters of parents in Brazil (73%) agree and 23% disagree, while 81% of parents in both China and India agree.
Would parents leave their children home alone with a robot nanny? Only 37% of American parents surveyed agree they would trust a full-time nanny robot to help take care of their children even if they are not home, while slightly more than half of parents in Brazil (51%) and the U.K. (54%) agree, and more than three-quarters of parents in India (76%) and China (80%) agree.
About the Survey
“Generation AI 2020: Health, Wellness and Technology in a Post-COVID World” surveyed 2,000 parents, aged 24–39 years-old, with at least one child under 11 years old — 400 each in the United States, United Kingdom, India, China and Brazil. The surveys were conducted September 25 – October 6, 2020.