There is a worry that social robots, in particular, may result in people becoming too reliant on them for social and physical interactions. It is conceivable that in the future, some individuals may prefer robots as interaction or even life partners over humans. Although it is not necessarily problematic for individuals to prefer robots for certain interactions, such as online shopping over in-person shopping, we should be cautious about the potential negative effects of substituting human social interaction with robot social interaction. One concern is that people may perceive robots as offering friendship, even though the robot’s ability to form genuine relationships is artificial. Conversations with robots may be enjoyable and even therapeutic, but there is a risk that the user may become overly dependent on the robot, desiring its company. Because robots are likely to be controlled by corporations to some degree, there is a concern that dependence and addiction may be desirable qualities in robots.
Bartneck, C. et al. (2020) Human-Robot Interaction: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108676649.