My paper entiteled “Towards of New Model for Long-Term Acceptance of Domestic Social Robots” describing the contribution of my PhD project was accepted at the HRI Pioneers Workshop.
For a successful diffusion of social robots, it is important to study the user acceptance of social robots enabling design adjustments according to the users’ demands. My PhD aims at exploring the long-term acceptance of social robots in the home. So far, we have identified several key variables that explain social robots acceptance. Applied to a short-term HRI study in the NAO robot, the results show that usefulness, adaptability, enjoyment, sociability, companionship and perceived behavioral control are key factors in explaining social robot acceptance.
Long-term studies are scarce in the field of social robotics. A long-term home study (6 months, 70 homes) attempted to fill this gap. My longitudinal study provided in-depth insight in the acceptance phases of social robot domestic use, and the initial results confirm that social robot acceptance develops through similar phases as outlined by the Domestication Theory and the Diffusion of Innovations. Moreover, people’s living situation (e.g. living alone or with a family) influences acceptance, and people who do not accept a robot after a trial period seem to have had high expectations which the robot could not fulfill.
Our future work will focus on the validation of a holistic model that integrates the disciplines of user acceptance research and social presence research. We will carry out a large scale online survey (N= 1200) among the Dutch population that enables us to test our full model of social robots acceptance with structural equation modeling. Such a model could serve as a standardized method to evaluate both user acceptance and social presence as well as human-robot interaction in general.
In addition to verifying our model of social robot acceptance, another online survey aims to unravel how people perceive social robots and the impact these robots might have on society when their domestic use becomes ubiquitous. The first part of the online survey will involve people’s perceptions of robots. The interviews of my longitudinal study revealed that the acceptability of robots does not depend only on the practical benefits they can provide, but on what people assume with the idea of having a robot in the home. The second part of this online survey focusses on the social roles robots could (not) or should (not) perform in the future to the opinion of potential future users. By providing respondents with future scenarios of robot roles in society, I will ask for people’s social and ethical issues with which we, as robotics researchers, need to deal before employing such robots.