Emotional Deficit

Robots Create Empathy In Humans 
But Fail To Work On Senators

Richieville News Service – WASHINGTON, D.C.
Researchers who are using a robot baby seal to help patients develop empathy and emotional attachments, reported today that surprisingly, the device does not work on U.S. Senators. The robot, called Paro, was originally developed in Japan where some people keep it as a pet, but therapists have been using it because of the mechanical seal’s ability to elicit feelings of compassion and love. Now scientists are saying they have been unable to achieve similar results when using the device on Capitol Hill.
“It’s really weird,” said Dr. Joy Rapport, one of the researchers who tested Paro on current members of Congress. “Usually after a minute or two with Paro, people start to feel sympathy, empathy and a whole range of feelings that show an emotional connection, but with Senators, we get nothing, zero, nada. I mean, Paro works on people with dementia, but with these politicians there’s no response at all. It’s like that part of their brains is missing.”

Dr. Rapport would not speculate on the effect this emotional deficit might have on Senate votes like the one that blocked extending unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who are out of work and about to lose what meager income they still have. 

“We don’t yet know why they vote the way they do,” said Dr. Rapport. “It could be that they have some sort of unusual brain damage that makes it impossible to sympathize with a fellow human being, or it could be that they are just cold-blooded, cynical, political hacks who are intentionally wrecking the lives of their fellow Americans. We’re still investigating.”

Dr. Rapport did say there was at least one positive aspect to the Senators’ interaction with the robot baby seal. “I’ll give them this much, they may not have felt any sympathy for Paro, but at least they didn’t try to club it to death and sell its fur.”


For more Richieville humor, read the comic sci-fi novel, Rate Me Red.

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