A Fatal Attraction? Why people are fascinated by robots and what to do about it

(Most) people are attracted to robots, and there are certain reasons behind it. Firstly, many people are fascinated by cutting edge technology demonstrating how far we can push the technological boundaries. Secondly, and importantly, robots are typically perceived as intentional creatures, and as such we perceive them as animated or even alive, leading to attributions of animal or human-like qualities and features that are not grounded in the robots' actual capabilities. My talk will address differences between biological and artificial creatures, and how the common perception of robots as "persons" can mislead us and raise expectations that the robots are not (yet, or never will be) able to fulfil. An alternative view focuses on the machine-like qualities and functionalities that robots are good at and which open up promising applications that can benefit society e.g. in healthcare applications, such as assisting older people in their own homes or teaching children with autism about communication and social interaction.

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