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Dutch author Marcel Heerink earned his PhD from the University of Amsterdam, his thesis being based on a study of acceptance of social robots by older adults. He has since become an internationally renowned academic researcher specializing in using social robots in therapy and education for people with special needs, like children with autism, people with dementia and (long term) hospitalized children.

The Compassionate Guide is a book I wrote, inspired by the surprising experiences and insights I gained with my research on social robots for people with special needs. It explores philosophical and psychological concepts like intelligence, trust, consciousness, truth, emotions, compassion, friendship and especially suspension of disbelief.

What’s the point of being human?
How does one deal with elusive things like trust, fear, being in love, friendship, and a disastrous morning attitude?
How can anyone handle the truth if there are so many different views on it?

If you’re made to be of service to humans, you’ll be facing quite a few challenges, because humans are full of contradictions, they will usually be anything but rational, and horribly arrogant. But fortunately, they’re amazing at dressing things up, they can occasionally be truly compassionate, and they are gifted with a stunning ability called “suspension of disbelief.”

These things are crucial, and this guide will tell you why, by addressing the challenges and possibilities of social robots, with a tasty blend of science and fiction — featuring a romantic, Italian love story; an enigmatic entity called P.; and an endearing, philosophical robot.

Tell us a little about your book.

It’s inspired by the experiences and insights I gained with my research on social robots for people with special needs. The book is written from the robot’s perspective, which makes you realize how illogical we humans are, how difficult it can be to understand us. But also it makes you see how very special we can be.

Laptop or desktop for writing?

Definitely laptop. I can write anywhere. In restaurants, pubs, busses, trains… Lately, I missed a station, though.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?

I kind of binge-watched The Good Place. I think it’s brilliant. It presents philosophical concepts and addresses ethical issues in a very appealing way. It almost makes ethical philosophy a sexy thing.

Where can your readers stalk you?

I think the best place is the Goodreads site. I just started a blog on it.

Do you give free ebooks away in exchange for honest reviews?

Yes, I do. In any format. Reviewers can always contact me.

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