Learning to Love Robots

Publication Title
The New Yorker
Publication/Creation Date
November 19 2018
Patricia Marx (creator)
Jibo (contributor)
IRobot (contributor)
Mayfield Robotics (contributor)
SoftBank Robotics (contributor)
Segway (contributor)
UBTech Robotics (contributor)
PARO Robots U.S., Inc. (contributor)
WowWee Group Limited (contributor)
Knightscope (contributor)
Persuasive Intent
In 2008, I fell in love with a robot. The object of my affection was a darling red Roomba vacuum cleaner.  The size and shape of a chunky Frisbee, it bustled to and fro across my apartment of its own volition, enabling me to eat my cake and drop it on the floor, too. I worried that the neighbors downstairs might be bothered by the noise, but, actually, I didn’t worry that much. It was the hum of industry and the sound of the legs of the yellow table being bashed. I marvelled at my Roomba’s work ethic and adored its lack of self-esteem. Studies have demonstrated that humans are disposed to ascribe emotions and intentions to anything that moves, including a piece of balsa wood controlled by a joystick, so perhaps it was not surprising that, when my Roomba got stuck under the sofa, I rushed to liberate it with the Swiffer stick.
HCI Platform
Location on Body
Entire Body