TECHNOLOGY

The astronomical robot from Amazon is stupid. You will still fall in love with her.


Why do we do this? It all starts with confidence, says Mark Edmunds of the University of California. he has Study Why do humans trust robots, and he says that we, by default, tend to trust machines to do what they are programmed to do. This means that machines have to do that Maintains trust instead of Builds He. She.

Confidence goes two ways here with Astro. On a superficial level, there is confidence that Astro will follow orders efficiently and well. The deeper trust issue facing Amazon is the company’s checkered history in terms of monitoring and privacy, especially since Astro is primarily used for home monitoring. But Edmunds says some users might be willing to be less critical of this creepy second trust issue if Astro does what he’s told. “Astro has to get the job right first, before intimacy,” Edmonds says. “Job is the most difficult technical dimension.”

Getting humans to trust Astro may seem difficult, but Amazon has built in some key design elements to help them, starting with her “eyes.” It’s hard to name Astro cute – her “face” is really just a screen with two circles in it – but the circles remember the enlarged eyes and proportions of a baby or baby animal.

Robots were designed long ago with giant eyes and chubby features to make them instantly cool to the human brain. In the early 2000s, MIT researcher Sherry Turkle began studying children who interacted with Furbies. She found that while children knew they were just toys, they still developed deep attachments to them, thanks in large part to their physical appearance.

In a follow-up to 2020, Turkel writes that the eyes of the healing robot Barrow make people feel understood and “inspire them [a] The relationship… is not based on her intelligence or consciousness, but on the ability to press certain “Darwinian” buttons in people (eye contact, for example) that cause people to respond as if they were in a relationship. “

Kids may be more likely to feel that Astro has the ability to form a relationship with them. Astro’s height, eyes, and cute appearance are “clear signs of personality,” which can impress and perplex children, especially younger ones trying to figure out how to interact with others, says Judith Danovich, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville who studies how children interact with Alexa.

“Being self-propelled is a vital sign for kids,” says Danovich. “In the natural world, humans and animals are self-propelled. Rocks and other inanimate things are not. It would be difficult for children to understand.”



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