Researchers from the College of Engineering of the University of Oregon (USA) conducted a study of how people react to robots-vacuum cleaners, if they suddenly acquire a “personality” and will show the likeness of the character. Does it make sense at all to develop this area from a marketing or other points of view? To do this, they took a standard model of robot-vacuum cleaner Neato Botvac and created for her three personal matrix, based on the characters of the dwarves from the fairy tale about Snow white.
The experimenters ruled out direct dialogue between the cleaner and man and generally any two-way communication. Instead, the robot has a separate add-on algorithms to perform common tasks. For example, the reaction to the detection of obstacles in the robot’s Happy (Merry) was fast but smooth, Sleepy (Sonia) slowed and was moving with long pauses, and Grumpy (Gloomy) randomly twitching from side to side.
Such differences between the matrices were in the pace of harvesting, choice of speed, route selection etc. From the outside it looks and is perceived, as if each robot has its own character. To check the impressions gained of volunteers who knew nothing about the nature of the experiment, they were simply instructed to assess the “new robots” and to choose their favourite one that they were willing to leave at home. Almost all those indicated Happy, noting its “friendliness”.
Matrix Grumpy didn’t like anyone, largely due to the fact that people did not understand the intentions of the robot they found him unpredictable, although with the main task of cleaning the room he did okay. The matrix Sleepy received a neutral rating, but buying such a robot none of the subjects did not want to. Now researchers want to expand the experiment by adding a matrix of characters the rest of the dwarves from the fairy tale of snow white to check the reaction of people on them too. The future, it is likely, not impersonal machines, and intelligent assistants – and we have to prepare for them.