Monday, 16 July 2007

Scary Robots

More public testing of the Questacon Robot today. What was especially interesting was the reaction that people had to it. Some found it interesting, some found it scary, and to some, it was as though the robot wasn't there.
I was particularly fascinated by those who were wary/scared of the robot. Although the robot doesn't move of its own accord (for safety reasons), it is at the stage where it can carry out a conversation, and maintain eye contact with whoever is interacting with it. While some people wanted to try it out there were a number of people who backed away from it. I guess some it was just the usual "techno-fear" ie afraid of any new technology, but I suspect some people were worried about what it was. A number of young children seemed especially wary when they realised the robot was looking at them, while adults were more put off by having to talk to the robot.
So when robots become more common place over the next 10-20 years, what sort of reaction will you have? Attraction or Rejection?

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