Robots starts as belonging to a certain group of society, a group of people passionate by artificial machines and how these works. In our days, the presence of the robots cannot be ignored by anyone. From industry to education and medicine, the robots are presented in large numbers and involved in many daily tasks. Now we live in a modern society where this intelligence machinery plays an important role and we must educate ourselves and leave the robots to enter into our lives.
We increasingly interact with machines like computers, smartphones, and so many others smart devices, more than with actual human beings. The human-robot interaction (HRI) is not the same like human-robot communication (HRC). HRI implies more actions than a simple communication with a robot or interaction with a computer.
HRI is under development for many years and has a high priority in designing robots used to cooperate with humans in a different environment than industry. Humans are allowed to interact with robots and a significant research effort is made in areas like Robotics, AI, Human-Computer Interaction, and Cognitive Psychology. All this research effort is translated in human-robot interfaces designed to be friendly with humans and as easy to use.
Emotions are characteristics of the humans and robots are still far away to reproduce these internal or external events. In addition, emotions could be positive as well as negative. Also, just as happened to humans, emotions are the result of evolution since could provide results for problems. People are taught to interact with each other and care about other people’s feelings. Same things should happen in the interaction between human and robot. A robot should be able to understand words, identify objects in different colors and shapes, as well as making decision in unexpected situations.
We are subjected to all kinds of interaction with robots in public places, in workplaces, and in our homes. We have to choose if we treat the robot like a social thing or like an electronic box that is capable to work in some hard conditions. Each of us has the liberty to choose how we interact with these intelligent machines.
It is easy to understand why humans interact more easily with a humanoid robot than a robotic toy or other type of robot. People communicate more easily with other people. Studies in the field have shown that people have a greater attraction for human-like robots than other machines. They look like humans and try to copy human behavior. Most human-like robots come from Japan, a country with a vast literature about robots. We all others must learn from the Japanese people how they interact with robots and how robots was entered into their culture.
It is clear that we are undergoing in interaction with other robotic types since the robots are presented in a long list of industries including manufacturing industry and service, medical sector, military, education, entertainment, exploration, household, or agriculture.
The role of robots in human society
From industry and up to social applications, the robots influence society with an increasing impact on humans. Some people lose their jobs while others find a job in robotics industry to design, innovative technologies, programming robots, and the list goes on. Based on artificial intelligence the robots become smarter, are able to learn or to take decisions. All of these are in early stage, but with an accelerated evolution.
A robot is not just a machine with an artificial brain. A robot is a trend like smartphones, and in some cases, is a tool to increase the productivity in a factory. These two cases are the extremes and not include all robotics types designed to ensure the quality of our lives.
Inspired by science-fiction literature, the manufacturers design and build toys, robotic vacuum cleaners, humanoid robots, robots used in the army, etc. All these take parts of our modern society and faster than ever, researchers and engineers build robots faster than we can break them.
Most interactive robots are designed to look and behave like humans. Used in medicine, education, or why not in industry, the most advanced robots become identical copies of humans. Worldwide industry is the largest consumer of robots and will continue for another period of time from now on. Almost all industrial robots are pinned in protection boxes. New innovative industrial robots look more like machines with human traits than simple robotic arms, and can work with workers under secure. These new types of industrial robots compared with old robots used in industry have a different way of human-machine interaction. These robots can hear and learn like a human. They pay attention to those around them, express and perceive emotions, recognize models, and can work side by side with a human.
The complexity of robots used in society is much higher compared with industrial robots. If the latter is used mostly in repetitive tasks, social robots should respond to a large wave of requirements. In our days are available robots used for a single task as well as robots with increased capacity to do all our tasks. A robot that can remove the dust under the furniture can be passed unnoticed. Also, the interaction with such robot is minimal and does not involved our senses.
A full-size humanoid robot capable of speech, hear, see, feel, recognize objects and learn, cannot be unnoticed. Once with improvement of the machine’s intelligence, the degree of human-machine interaction increase. This handyman robot should exhibit human social characteristics including emotions, maintain a dialogue, learn from others, maintain social relationships and develop social competencies.
Can we treat the adaptation with artificial partners? We as humans, have to adapt to the robots, or the robots should adapt to humans? I think that there must be a balance. People are made to adapt in almost any situation. When we change the job we’re subjected to adapt in a new environment. We have to communicate with other co-workers, we have another road to go to work, another place of office, and the list goes on.
If the humans can use adaptation at any moment, why robots could not adapt like humans? I think that these artificial partners could be used in different combinations of skills and abilities to meet the individual circumstances. Besides, the structure of the robots has the ability to modify the robot’s configuration by changing sensors, “the brain”, and many other components.
We’re using a variety of robotic creatures designed to interact with children and adults in different manners. They can be used to assist elderly people as therapeutic tools, for children with physical and cognitive disabilities, in education as a tool for language learning, or in entertainment.
If about robots and people’s adaptation I already wrote, what about the design of robots. People have different heights and weights, different skin colors, some are more sensitive while others express difficult the feelings. As a tribute to the human culture, engineers and researchers try to recreate in an artificial manner what the nature builds in million of years. Once we can distinguish each other, should we keep the same ratio in the robots distinction? Maybe yes, maybe no. Depending on the purpose for which the robot is designed. For example, the design of a therapeutic or educational robot can be distinguished from each other while both robots are built for different purposes.
In industry it is easy to define the satisfaction. We have to measure the production that is closely related with the efficiency and also with satisfaction. Regarding social robots, the satisfaction is hard to be defined. Every human has wishes, expectations, or needs for a robot. The perfection is difficult to achieve in any fields, but humans tend to this. I cannot imagine the perfect robot, as well as I cannot imagine how a perfect human can be.
The adoption of robots in our society will change the interaction between humans and the interaction between humans and artificial machines. If the cars, computers and smartphones have changed the world, the robots will replace everything that we want to replace. We will have self-driving cars, robotic coworkers, as well as a babysitter for our children.Resources:
Ruc, The influence of robots on the human society;
MIT, Person–Robot Interactions…;
CMU, A survey of socially interactive robots;