As we can observe from our use of mobile devices, technology has the tendency to capture our attention, and robots could also lead to “attention theft.” Neuroscience research has shown that our attention is drawn towards motion and sound, particularly when they are social and lifelike. Robots present an easy opportunity for unintentional or intentional attention theft. Therefore, it is important to consider mechanisms that allow robots to recognize when it is not appropriate to engage with users or attract attention through their actions. This is particularly important when the robot’s behaviour could detract from human interaction partners. Careful consideration must be given when designing and deploying robots to avoid these issues.
Read more about how our attention is drawn towards motion and sound, particularly when they are social and lifelike:
Bartneck, C. et al. (2020) Human-Robot Interaction: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108676649.