Social Robots and Responses to Technology (05-19-21)

Architectural researchers have found that when robots doing utilitarian tasks, such as removing garbage or moving equipment, talk and, specifically, when they speak with the local accent of wherever they are, that people who see and hear them at work may be more accepting of new technologies in their lives.  The robots with the local accents studied were boxy, they did not have human-like forms. A press release related to the study (lead by Soraa) shares that architectural researchers “were interested in how people adjusted to, used, got around and were affected by the hospital’s architecture. . . . The researchers followed health care staff, patients and visitors on their routes in the hospital, and asked them questions about why they moved the way that they did, where they were headed, and how they felt at the time. . . . the [robots] kept turning up as a part of the conversation. . . . ‘These service robots were not created to be social robots,’ Soraa said. . . . And yet people still tend to socialize with them and find social qualities in them.’  This matters Soraa said, because it helps people accept the robots, and through that acceptance, other technologies that are coming our way are not seen as too alien.”

“An Automated Box on Wheels – With Personality.”  2021. Norwegian SciTech News (press release by Nancy Bazilchuk),