More than half of Brits would embrace working with a robot, new study finds.
The concept of robots living among humans has often been explored within the genre of sci-fi. And whilst the idea seems far-fetched, the idea that robots could become part of everyday life has become a topic of conversation. With the influence of TV shows such as Westworld and Humans, and movies such as Her, robot-human relationships has become a concept many have begun to form an opinion on.
As A.I continues to advance, the possibility of building relationships with robots grows. With smart speakers such as Alexa already a central component in the homes of many, are robot companions really that hard to imagine?
With an interest in emerging technological trends, a survey conducted by YouGov was analysed to understand the thoughts and feelings of Brits surrounding robot companions*.
Predictably, overall 68 per cent of men and 77 per cent of women stated ‘No’ when asked “Can you imagine forming a friendship with a robot in the future?”. When broken down, 31 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women claim they ‘Probably won’t’, and 37 per cent of men and 47 per cent of women stating they ‘Definitely won’t’.
More interestingly, 17 per cent of men (three per cent ‘Definitely will’ and 14 per cent ‘Probably will’) and 10 per cent of women (one per cent ‘Definitely will’ and nine per cent ‘Probably will’) overall said ‘Yes’, when asked the same question.
The analysis showed that overall only nine per cent of men (two per cent ‘Definitely would’ & seven per cent ‘Probably would’) and three per cent of women (one per cent ‘Definitely would’ and two per cent ‘Probably would’) stated ‘Yes’ when asked “Can you imagine forming a romantic relationship with a robot in the future?”.
Understandably, a large majority saw this as a step too far into the future, with a staggering 82 per cent of men and 93 per cent of women responding ‘No’ to forming a romantic relationship with a robot. If you look at the figures broken down an overwhelming 66 per cent of men and 83 per cent of women stipulated, they ‘Definitely would not’; demonstrating their stern opinion towards the subject.
And as robots in the workplace become seemingly more apparent and growing in popularity, the analysis found that 33per cent of men (seven per cent ‘Very comfortable’& 26 per cent ‘Fairly comfortable’) and 22 per cent of women (three per cent ‘Very comfortable’ and 19per cent ‘Fairly comfortable’) claiming they would be comfortable with a colleague that was a robot.
However, it seems that the idea of a robotic colleague is still all too much at present, as more than half of both men and women feel uncomfortable at the prospect of working with a robot – 54 per cent of men (22 per cent ‘Fairly uncomfortable’ and 32 per cent ‘Very uncomfortable’) and 65 per cent of women (23 per cent ‘Fairly uncomfortable’ and 42 per cent ‘Very uncomfortable’).
When asked “How would you feel working with a manager that was a robot?”, 20 per cent of men (5 per cent ‘Very comfortable’ and 15 per cent ‘Fairly comfortable’) and 12 per cent of women (three per cent ‘Very comfortable’ and nine per cent ‘Fairly comfortable’) felt ‘Comfortable’.
Predictably, 66 per cent of men and 75 per cent of women felt ‘Uncomfortable’ at the thought of a manager that would be a robot rather than a human.
*OnBuy.com analysed the survey which was conducted based on a sample of 2,041 British adults aged 18-55+. The data was published 13-14th August 2018.
Interested in robots? Find out more at the Future of Work Summit 2019.