Smart Wonder: Cute, Helpful, Secure Domestic Social Robots

Dereshev, Dmitry (2018) Smart Wonder: Cute, Helpful, Secure Domestic Social Robots. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
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Sci-fi authors and start-ups alike claim that socially enabled technologies like companion robots will become widespread. However, current attempts to push companion robots to the market often end in failure, with consumers finding little value in the products offered. Technology acceptance frameworks describe factors that influence robot acceptance. It is unclear how to design a companion robot based on them, however, as they were derived from much more primitive, asocial technology.

Based on two frameworks of robot acceptance as a starting point, this thesis highlights the value socially enabled technologies could bring as conveyed by the views and experiences of three user groups: the potential users of companion robots being exposed to adverts; the people who lived with smart speakers – a successful socially enabled technology with a dedicated embodiment; and the people who lived with companion robots long-term. By discussing both the frameworks of acceptance, and how real people used and anticipated real socially enabled technologies, this thesis draws broad considerations for companion robot designers concerning form factor, (non-)acceptance over time, robot’s personality, trust, and human-robot relationships. The implication is for the valuable traits to be replicated in the future iterations of companion robots.

Findings include the tension between familiarity and strangeness of robotic form factors and faces; the specifics of how socially enabled technologies fit and do not fit within existing frameworks of acceptance; the need for both authenticity and pro-activity in companion robot’s personality; the differences between views and actions on security and trust towards autonomous devices in the domestic environment; and the construction of human-machine relationships between people and socially enabled technologies.

These findings highlight the need to extend existing frameworks of robot acceptance to include unique factors pertaining to socially enabled technologies. They also highlight the need to highlight the value of companion robots, dismissing the assumption of automatic robot acceptance by people.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA), Long-Term Acceptance, User Studies, Domestic Environment (Home)
Subjects: C800 Psychology
G400 Computer Science
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 11:25
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:32

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