Universities in Europe are joining forces to understand “social robots” and how cyborgs will change education and the modern workforce.

Social robots have “emotional intelligence” and the aim is for them to one day be commonplace as teachers and therapeutic pals.

According to Pew Research, 70% of Americans are concerned about robots taking over more human jobs.

And students arent convinced about the merits of cyborg colleagues either.

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“They dont want to work with robots in the future, but they admit that it is coming”

Dr Perry Share

“The interesting thing so far is on the one hand, they dont want to work with robots in the future, but they admit that it is coming. It suggests that theyre not really ready,” said Dr Perry Share, a senior lecturer at IT Sligo in Ireland.

IT Sligo is one of the universities involved in the cutting-edge project designed to get future teachers, social and healthcare workers comfortable with robots.

The team is involving both educators and robot researchers in the project.

Dr John Pender, who is also on the team, said: “Increasingly, carers will be assisted by robots and artificial intelligence.

“There is growing evidence that the emotional intelligence possessed by social robots in the future will enable them to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people in society,” he told The Journal.

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The team has focused in particular on the benefits of robot companionship for dementia patients.

Human health and social work will be automated by the late 2020s, according to PwC.

And driverless cars and robot builders will be among us in the 2030s.

The IT Sligo team said it ultimately hopes to integrate social robots into college courses, so graduates are prepared for sharing their working life with robots.

The research is funded under the EU Commissions “Erasmus and Key Action 203 – Strategic Partnerships” programme.

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