Researchers are exploring ways in which they can build robots that can be used to give humans emotional support.
In a study published in Computers in Human Behaviour, a team of researchers from Cornell University, Northwestern University and the Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya in Israel assert that it is possible to use robots to provide emotional support to humans in times of need.
The finding of the researchers falls under the now controversial topic of human-robot interaction.
Although various studies on the issue of how robots interact with humans in different scenarios have been published, the current study holds more promise than many of the rest, given the manner in which it was conducted and the conclusions that the researchers came up with.
According to the details of the study, the researchers tested how individuals interact with robots when they are in need of emotional support.
The researchers used an 11-inch robot they called Travis to test how people interact with robots when they are thinking about dating.
The participants in the study were asked to talk about their previous dating experiences to the robot. The robot could then offer emotional responses in the form of reactions and actual words.
The participants in the study were then required to make actual contact with real individuals on online dating sites. However, before getting in touch with potential dates, the participants were required to assess their level of attractiveness and potential of falling in love again.
It is reported that many of the individuals who received negative responses from Travis were despondent when assessing their likelihood of finding a date while many of the individuals who received positive reactions from Travis believed that they could get a date easily.
‘From the findings of this study, we can conclude that the manner in which humans interact with robots does change the way the humans behave later,’ the researchers conclude.
But what is likely to be exciting to researchers and the tech community is the manner in which the findings of the research can be used to build more advanced robots that can help to comfort humans in times of emotional need.
Back in 19996, MIT researchers built a robot they called ELIZA that could help humans feel better by talking to them. However, the current research provides a platform for building more advanced robots that interact with humans and help humans with their emotional needs.