Mumbling Robots Preferred By Humans

People prefer mumbling robots that hem and haw under certain circumstances, according to Japanese researchers. In a recent study, preferred robots that used conversational filler like "um" and "er" and "well, uh..." over robots that just sat while computing an answer to a query.


(Mumbling robots easier to live with)

Thus, the important question is "What should a robot do if it cannot respond quickly enough?" The second experiment tested the effectiveness of a conversational filler: behavior to notify listeners that the robot is going to respond. In Japanese "etto" is used to buy time to think and resembles "well..." and "uh..." In English. We used the same strategy in a communication robot to shadow system response time. Our results indicated that using a conversational filler by the robot moderated the user's impression toward a long SRT [system response time].

I can't think offhand of a robot in sf mumbling, but I'm sure there must be one. As I recall, R2D2 used a lot of unnecessary vocalizations...

Via Digital World Tokyo.

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