A Compassionate Guide For Social Robots

Blurb   Video’s   Reviews & Press   Downloads

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.

It’s available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback. The e-book version peaked the Kindle best seller list for a few days in the categories ‘Essays & Commentary’ and  ‘Human-Computer Interaction’ in the last week of January 2019.

On this page, you’ll find links to reviews, media coverage, video’s illustrating the philosophical and psychological issues addressed in the book (I use these in lectures, workshops and presentations) and downloads like a press kit, references and documents on thought experiments.


Citing a customer review on Amazon.com:
“A Compassionate Guide For Social Robots by Marcel Heerink is such a unique book, it’s hard to know where to start.”

Indeed, it’s hard. Wherever I had to list the book, I found it hardly possible to choose the right categories. It’s a blend of storytelling and essays and having to choose between fiction and nonfiction is already a tormenting job (why is there never a ‘blended’ category?) Moreover it can rightfully be classified as philosophy, psychology, sociology, science, technology and even humor.

Being as specific as I can, I would say it’s about human-robot interaction, human-centered AI and suspension of disbelief is the main theme.

But here’s a description from the cover:

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.


Some illustrative video’s, made by enthousiastic students…

Michael shares his reflections on consciousness

Elmer shares his reflections on suspension of disbelief

The Enchanted Cave – A Thought Experiment

Reflections on truth (Alice, Dean and Harold)

The amazing Similoid explained

Unboxing the Guide


Just click the cover picture, or click here.

Reviews & Press

Absolutely brilliant!

By Faith Lee (Amazon customer review)

They think their mobile phones are so smart that they actually call them ‘smartphones.’
by Grady Harp (San Fransisco Review of Books)

Great read!’
by Archie (Amazon customer review)

“…sure to captivate, surprise, and touch the reader”.
by Truly’s Review (Goodreads)

This book will challenge what you think about robots
by V.E. (Amazon customer review)

Very thought provoking
by JoJo Maxson (Amazon customer review)

A Little Empathy
Guest post at Givology

Interview Sakura


PressKit (description, bio and photo’s)

The Enchanted Cave: a (comic book style) excerpt (free e-book). epubmobi pdf

The Bibliography

The Index

Description of a Similoid thought experiment (populating a new planet)

A form that can be used for this experiment