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As technology continues to advance and robots become more sophisticated and capable of interacting with humans in a natural and engaging way, it is likely that future generations will increasingly use robots as emotional companions.
There are already many examples of robots being used as companions, such as the popular robot pets designed to provide companionship and entertainment for people of all ages. These robots are often programmed to respond to human interactions in a lifelike way, using sensors and artificial intelligence to learn from their interactions with humans and adapt their behavior accordingly.
In the future, it is possible that robots will become even more advanced and capable of engaging with humans in more complex ways. For example, robots may provide emotional support and companionship for people who are lonely or isolated or have difficulty connecting with others due to social anxiety or other issues.
Humans may have already begun to welcome the idea of robotic companions, especially as technology improves and social robots become more common. Of course, society first needs to see how ethical, regulated, and safe the use of robots is.
Moreover, we also have to know and experience whether robots can help us strengthen our emotional capacities, start a conversation with others, and even teach us the meaning of trust. Only then can we build credibility with this technology.
The Acceptance of Robots
Now, we need to ask what will make us more open to accepting robots as emotional companions. Indeed, the results obtained from studies on robot acceptance in general, rather than specifically on robot acceptance as a companion, are often rather contradictory. For example, there is some evidence that men respond more positively to robots. But some studies show no significant difference in attitudes between men and women.
Additionally, while some empirical evidence suggests that people with more education are more friendly toward robots, other studies suggest the opposite. Finally, while previous data suggests that people familiar with the technology are generally more comfortable with robots, not all studies show the same.
In my survey of 426 American adults, I found that of all the factors, age was the most important indicator of robot acceptance in relationships. For example, while for the group of people aged 21-30, the average score for the perception of the desire to have a robot as a companion is 3.6 points, for the group of people aged 60 and above, the score is much lower: 2.41 points. Future generations are likely to have a more open approach to robots.
However, it is also important to consider the potential ethical and social implications of using robots as social companions. As robots become more lifelike and capable of simulating human emotions and behavior, there is a risk that people may become overly reliant on them for companionship and social interaction, leading to further isolation and disconnection from other human beings. Therefore, it will be important for future generations to carefully consider the role of robots in their lives and ensure that they are used to enhance human relationships and social connections.