It's Not Warm But That's Okay: About Robots That Avoid Human Stereotypes

Jung, Frederike and Müller, Heiko and Boll, Susanne CJ
Nordic Human-Computer Interaction Conference
Robot designs for social applications, such as care, often imitate human appearance and behavior. However, anthropomorphizing technology may reinforce connections between stereotypical characteristics and a robot's assumed social category such as gender. Several problems are associated with stereotyping. We explore how to design for important social dimensions in care, such as perceived warmth or competence, without reverting to stereotypical images of human caretakers. Aiming towards "de-stereotyping'' robotics, we provide a systematic exploration of multimodal behavioral cues for non-anthropomorphic care robots. In an online video study with a non-humanoid performing typical care tasks, all presented behavioral cues resulted in low RoSAS (Robot Social Attribute Scale) warmth, yet high task performance ratings. This emphasizes perceived competence (over warmth) as an essential criterion for non-humanoids. Our findings indicate that a "thing-like'' robot appearance may not elicit the same social expectations as humanoid forms, shedding new light on the design space of these robots.
October / 2022
Association for Computing Machinery
NordiCHI '22