Robots as personal assistants
Cloud-connected technology has seen the recent and unexpected success of smart-home assistants, which are voice-operated devices that are unobtrusively placed in homes or offices. Technology giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung have developed voice-operated assistants that come in various shapes and sizes and offer a wide range of services. However, they are primarily used for simple information requests and music streaming, and their social exchanges are limited to small talk. Social robots are a new type of personal home assistant that can potentially rival smart-home assistants. These robots have a social presence with features like eyes, ears, or a mouth, and may be motorized to track users around the room. They can provide similar services as smart-home assistants but offer a unique opportunity for social interaction. For example, they can express engagement with music, act as communicative intermediates, engage in richer games, tell stories, and provide encouragement or incentives. They can also be used as surveillance devices.
An example of a commercial household robot for home monitoring:
Bartneck, C. et al. (2020) Human-Robot Interaction: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108676649.