How Do You Feel About Robots, Really?

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Are you ready to welcome a robot into your life? Would you trust a robot with healthcare advice?

That's what a QUT researcher is hoping to find out - and you can help.

The Faculty of Health's Nicole Robinson is a PhD student investigating how people relate to robots by presenting a scenario to determine what, if any, connection is formed.

The aim of the study is to design a psychometric scale to enhance understanding of human-robot interactions and find out if people feel comfortable and ready to bond with a social robot.

"We want to better understand human-robot interactions and how people might respond to social robots that want to do things for people, such as help with a task or talk to them about a problem," Robinson said.

Currently, there are limited ways to evaluate the direct effect of a human-robot interaction, making it difficult to assess their potential and real impact on people.

The research may lead to a new way to rate and classify human-robot connections, particularly as robots begin to integrate into the public in near future.

"Social robots are starting to emerge in areas such as education and healthcare. We want to understand people’s reactions, thoughts and feelings about social robots that may interact with them in future," Robinson said.

I just completeed the survey myself, and it's pretty simple. You'll be asked to watch a two-minute video of a robot and a person discussing a topic.

You'll then be asked to answer questions - like what you thought and felt about the interaction from the robot in the video.

The questionnaire takes up to 10 minutes to complete and you don't need to interact with a real robot to take part in the research.

"The creation of a psychometric scale to evaluate a human-robot interaction could have wide individual and industry application, such as finding out how people react to an interaction with a health, tutor or worker robot in their environment or workplace," Robinson said.

"The opinions and perspectives from the general public on this topic will help us to discover how we could develop a robot’s task, role or behaviour to make it more acceptable and functional to use for people."

Robinson said ultimately, she wants to understand how to best move forward, if at all, with the use of social robots in society.

You can complete the survey yourself here.

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