Nurse! Nurse! The screens! Frightening news from Japan, where the government is doing a bit of anti-recessionary spending and setting up research towards robotic nurses. Not just nurses, of course, but the idea is that the first batch of plastic pals who are fun to be with will entertain, medicate, advise and 'carry out dangerous tasks'.
I'm a bit surprised that this hasn't occurred to our own dear lot in Westminster, who seem to be struggling with the idea that to get good teachers and happy nurses you have to treat them like human beings, with respect, decent conditions and a fair wedge. Robots need none of the above, and heaven only knows we could do with a bit more high-tech industry in the place. It's not as if Mr T has shown any antipathy towards his own backbenchers behaving like pre-programmed androids: independence of thought and autonomous decision making capabilities don't feature highly on the list of desirable attributes.
But then, we seem to have quite a forward-thinking view on cloning and stem cell research. Perhaps the grand plan is to leapfrog all that dull business with electronics and go straight for the flesh puppet stage. Buy shares in the Tyrell Corporation now, chaps.