More than a Servant: Self-Reported Willingness of Younger and Older Adults to having a Robot perform Interactive and Critical Tasks in the Home

Neta Ezer, Arthur D Fisk, Wendy A Rogers
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society ... Annual Meeting 2009, 53 (2): 136-140
Many companies are developing robots for the home, including robots specifically for older adults. There is little understanding, however, about the types and characteristics of tasks that younger and older individuals would be willing to let a robot perform. In a mailed questionnaire, participants were asked to indicate their willingness to have a robot perform each of 15 robot tasks that required different levels of interaction with the human owner and different levels of task criticality. The responses of 117 older adults (aged 65-86) and 60 younger adults (aged 18-25) were analyzed. The results indicated that respondents of both groups were more willing to have robots perform infrequent, albeit important, tasks that required little interaction with the human compared to service-type tasks with more required interaction; they were least willing to have a robot perform non-critical tasks requiring extensive interaction between robot and human. Older adults reported more willingness than younger adults in having a robot perform critical tasks in their home. The results suggest that both younger and older individuals are more interested in the benefits that a robot can provide than in their interactive abilities.

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