Understanding the construct of human trust in domestic service robots
Olson, Katherine E.
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Simple robots are already being deployed and adopted by some consumers for use at home. The robots currently in development for home use are far more sophisticated. However, it was not know the extent to which humans would trust them. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that influence trust in domestic service robots across a range of users with different capabilities and experience levels. Twelve younger adults (aged 18-28) and 24 older adults (12 low technology users and 12 high technology users) aged 65-75 participated in a structured interview, card-sorting task, and several questionnaires. Most participants had heard about or seen robots, but indicated they had little experience with them. However, most had positive opinions about robots and indicated they would trust a robot to assist with tasks in their homes, though it was dependent on the task. Before making a decision to trust a robot, participants wanted to know a lot of information about the robot such robot reliability, capabilities, and limitations. When asked to select their trust preference for human versus robot assistance for specific tasks, participants had preferences for both human and robot assistance, although it was dependent on the task. Many participants defined trust in robots similar to definitions of trust in automation (Ezer, 2008; Jian et al., 2000). Additionally, they had high rates of selection for adjectives used to describe trust in automation and also selected some adjectives used to describe trust in humans when asked to select characteristics they most associated with trustworthy and untrustworthy robots. Overall, there were some differences between age and technology experience groups, but there were far more similarities. By carefully considering user needs, robot designers can develop robots that have the potential to be adopted by a wide range of people.