Female appearance helps robots ingratiate themselves with us

(ORDO NEWS) –When communicating with a robot, people also prefer a female voice to a male one.

Researchers at the University of Washington at Pullman asked 170 volunteers to share their thoughts on communication with robots that work in the service industry, such as performing functions.porter at the hotel.

Team Discovered That people are more comfortable talking to a female robot presenter, especially if it has human features. Researcher Subin Seo says people tend to feel more comfortable being cared for by women because of gender stereotypes.

“This gender stereotype seems to carry over to interactions with robots, and it’s reinforced when robots are more human-like.”

Even before the pandemic, the hospitality industry was struggling with high employee turnover, and Seo noted that some hotels have turned to robots and automation for functions ranging from dishwashing and housekeeping to customer service such as welcoming guests and delivering luggage.

For the study, survey participants were presented with one of four scenarios of interaction with a service robot with artificial intelligence in a hotel. In one scenario, they were greeted by a male service robot named “Alex” who had a humanoid body.

In the second scenario, the robot’s appearance was female and the name was changed to “Sarah”. In the other two scenarios, the robots had different genders and names, but were “machine-like”, with an interactive screen instead of a face.

Respondents were later asked to rate how they feel about interactions with such robots. The participants who were introduced to the female robots rated their experience as more enjoyable and satisfying than those who participated in the male robot scenarios. When robots were humanoid, humans’ preference for their female versions was evident.

“In the future, we will see more robots as a replacement for people in hotels.and restaurants, so we may find that some of the psychological relationships that we observe in human-human interactions are also realized in robotic interactions,” notes Seo.

In the future, Seo wants to continue studying human-robot communication. In particular, she intends to find out how such interaction is influenced by characteristics of people, such as, for example, extroversion or introversion.

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