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THE FUNCTIONAL AND SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE OF A HUMANOID ROBOT

Today, it is increasingly common for people especially in a developed country to use or come into contact with robots in various situations at home and in retail stores, hotels and hospitals. Robots are classified into several type based on their functionality (service utility robots are those designed to communicate with humans) and appearance (humanoid robots or mechanical robots). The type of robot, to which countries attach importance to in the advance of robotics reflects the sense of vales and preferences of its population.

Trust in the robot has been considered as a main indicator of acceptance in decision ­making tasks characterized by perceptual uncertainty (e.g., evaluating the weight of two objects) and socio ­cognitive uncertainty. Today, robots endowed with functional and social abilities constitute two distinct categories on the market, with distinct purposes and labels ­ e.g., ‘utilitarian’ and ‘hedonistic’ robots. But robotic industry is definitely moving towards robots which are both functional and social and researchers have advanced that user’s behavior will evolve accordingly: the more efficient a robot is, the more people would be likely to trust them on all levels, including social level.

However, several studies have revealed the influences of human cultures into feelings and behaviors toward robots and some of them focused on social acceptance of robots mainly borrow their conceptual frame from older technology acceptance models thus neglecting the specificity of the robot as a social agent. Several studies however have validated a significant set of indicators of social acceptance such as performance expectancy, attitude towards technology, anxiety, etc. Advancements in robot and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have drawn much attention in recent years. In fact, there are many discussions that is being carried out by various companies in Japan and other developed countries as well as the impact of these activities on the society.

While robots may be able multi-task, learn, problem-solve and translate better than we could ever hope to, robots lack one element of customer service which will always be memorable and priceless which is a personal touch. Going out of your way to help someone, or simply brightening up their day with a generous helping of humanity can often be the difference between an average review and a fantastic one.

Currently robots don’t have the capacity to exhibit a genuine human quality such as emotion, and can generally be spotted from a mile away.

However, when the day comes that this “emotion part” is no longer the case, there will probably be a reason to have bigger things to worry about than the state of society as a whole.

Will Robots be finally Accepted?

Relationships between feelings toward humanoid robots and attitudes toward robots in general also depend on the generation of respondent. This suggests that changing attitudes toward some particular types of robots may not lead to acceptance of other types of robots, nor robots in general. In order to further social acceptance of humanoid robots across cultures, designers of robots need to consider individual, generational, and cultural factors in their potential users.

 

Article by: Busayo Tomoh

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