The dream team of robots and humans

Robots and artificial intelligence are topics rich in fascination and ingenuity. At the same time, they are a source of apprehension and are not without their problems from a psychological perspective.  Artificial intelligence and robots are fascinating and innovative subjects. They are, however, a source of anxiety and are not without psychological issues. People are particularly skeptical of robots’ use in the social sphere, such as in childcare or elderly care, according to a study conducted by the European Commission. on the other hand, they are widely accepted in manufacturing, security, cleaning, and medical applications.

The wide acceptance of robots in our workplaces

Many reports predict that by 2023, 2.6 million robots will be employed in the industries around the world. This would be near twice the current figure. One of the most significant challenges, and indeed a critical market element, is the human-machine interface. In the long run, the sector will be dominated by automakers of robots that are not only efficient in their tasks, but also user-friendly, communicative, and act pleasantly.

Many robotics experts believe that harmonious collaboration with humans can be accomplished most easily with machines that resemble humans in appearance and behavior. After all, the majority of working environments were created with the human body in mind, so they should be ideal for humanoid robots. Another commonly heard argument is that communication between humans and humanoids is particularly intuitive because no new mode of interaction is required. Humans could simply communicate with robots and interpret their facial expressions and gestures as if they were real people.

Teamwork Dreamwork: predictions and efficiency

However, the development of overly human-like robots poses a risk. When we are unable to classify our counterparts as human beings or machines on the spot, when we are unsure what to expect from the creature, how intelligent it is, and whether it will follow the rules of interpersonal behavior, the robot may appear downright creepy.

A Carnegie Mellon University laboratory experiment (pdf) simulated a café situation in which a robot and test subjects shared the task of taking drink orders. In an unknown order, the robot handed its partners a variety of different drinking vessels. The participants in the study were required to add the necessary ingredients, such as a teabag. It was discovered that the shortest working time was required when the robot reached for the next cup in a loss-free straight-line trajectory, rather than when the robot’s arm movements followed a curve, making it easy to predict what the robot would grasp next. However, the optimal movement for human perception was not only the most efficient but also the highest ranked by the test.

As a result, the impact of subjective perception on the flow of work should never be underestimated. Personal well-being in human-robot collaboration is dependent on proactive signals from the robot, among other things. The more clearly it communicates its intentions to the people in its environment, the more trust they have in it.

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