At some point in every parent’s life, the thought of having a robot on hand to help with raising boisterous children and keeping on top of domestic chores is one that would be very appealing indeed.

But according to one of the world’s leading experts in artificial intelligence, one-in-three children of the future will be raised robots within 30 years as technology becomes more advanced.

Dr Michelle Tempest believes that in technology will render parents virtually as “obsolete as floppy disks” by 2050. She states computers will assume the role of mother and father and parenting as we know it will be “entirely optional”, with technology caring for children from birth to adulthood.

Lifelike droids will feed, exercise and teach youngsters, while “nanny machines” will change nappies, sing lullabies and tell bedtime stories.

Mothers-to-be will not even need to carry their baby during pregnancy thanks to artificial uteruses that will develop foetuses outside of the womb.

AI will have become so capable and trusted that a third of parents could choose to outsource duties to individualised “Upbringing Centres” until the age of 18.

There, the children will interact almost exclusively with digital avatars and automatons that combine the role of “nurse, nanny, teacher and therapist”.

In effect, mums and dads will have the option of becoming “holiday parents” who need only spend time with their children on day trips and family vacations, Dr Tempest believes.

Parents will see only their children’s “best bits” and avoid sleepless nights, dirty nappies, the terrible twos, teenage tantrums, hormonal angst and relationship dramas.

Dr Tempest, a former NHS doctor at the internationally-renowned Addenbrooke’s Hospital said the prospect of robotic parenting is “alarming but, for many, irresistible” based on the rapid rate of AI innovation and on the public’s heavy reliance on and propensity for outsourcing.

The troubling vision is laid out her new book, Big Brain Revolution: Artificial Intelligence – Spy or Saviour?, which is out now.

Dr Tempest said: “The field of artificial intelligence is developing at an unprecedented rate, making things possible that we couldn’t even dream about just a decade before.

“If progress continues at the same rate then AI could replace parenting as we currently understand the term.

“Within 30 years, those wishing to have children could, effectively, outsource the entire parenting experience to AI should they wish to.

“In other words, human parents would no longer be necessary to raise a child once it has been conceived. They will become as obsolete as floppy discs are today.

“Mums and dads would pay for this service just like they do now for many simple tasks like cleaning, babysitting and gardening.

“In so doing, parents will have the tempting option to only be present for their child’s best bits and to avoid anything else.”

AI systems can use machine learning to spot and recognise patterns in large sets of information, which could include body metrics, speech, text data, or visual images.

In the process, AI may learn things about human development that no biological parent could piece together.

Dr Tempest says that technology companies will have their AI systems “learn from the best” parents, nursery nurses, teachers and child therapists to provide a bespoke childcare that any mortal human would struggle to provide.

With constant monitoring of the child, the AI would be able to detect and respond to their full range of needs — from hunger and soiled nappies to emotional and educational development issues — far quicker and effectively.

Software would then be able to adjust a child’s learning programme accordingly, direct mobile robots to attend to its requirements, or call for medical assistance.

Dr Tempest added: “Upbringing Centres, as I have called them, will feature state-of-the-art technology to monitor the children in their care around the clock. Some parents already use smart sensors to detect when a nappy is wet and the next generation will have a robot carrying out nappy changes as well as ensuring the baby has a healthy balanced food and fluid regime.”