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Cultural Robot Preferences

March 14, 2014

Different cultures have different expectations and preferences when it comes to robot design.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Cultural robot preferences. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Which robot do you prefer? One that looks like a machine, or one with lifelike features? (Left: Phasmatisnox/cc by 3.0 ; Right Gnsin/cc by 3.0, on Wikipedia)

Which robot do you prefer? One that looks like a machine, or one with lifelike features? (Left: Phasmatisnox/CC BY-SA 3.0 ; Right Gnsin/CC BY3.0, on Wikipedia)

Different cultures have different attitudes towards robots. This according to Indiana University computer scientist Selma Šabonović, and Ph. D. student Hee Rin Lee. They surveyed American, Korean, and Turkish people on a wide range of robot issues, including both design and function.

SELMA ŠABONOVIĆ (Indiana University):

And so in Korea, we found that people really would like to have robots in everyday contexts. In things like their home, in hotels, in schools, whereas in the US, people preferred to have robots in factories or dangerous locations.

HIRSHON:
Korean respondents also liked robots with lifelike features, while Americans either preferred them to look like machines, or didn’t care. Turkish responses generally fell in between that of Koreans and Americans. The researchers say that the attitudes seem to be extensions of the culture’s social norms. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.