The Next Social Robot Can Read Your Emotions

  • 2 mins read
  • 22nd Dec,2021

It has been over 100 years since the first robot was designed. And just see how these intelligent machines are getting more human. Yes, human, I mean and not merely humanoid. It's a story of transition from the days when autonomous robots performed potentially hazardous tasks without human assistance. I believe the next generation of robots will have to do something more challenging than navigating risky expeditions like exploring deep oceans or setting foot on the Red Planet. The next frontier for a robot is the home- fitting into our daily lives. I'm talking of social robots instead of avatars and chatbots that claim to be social but can't take an anthropomorphic form.

Imagine robots that can reason, decode our emotions, figure out our intentions, and engage with us just like humans! That's a bigger social mandate than what Alexa or Siri are delivering.

More Fluff Than Real Stuff?

To imagine robots as our emotional companions isn't that believable for many. Perhaps, the closest we could see was in Sophia, a social humanoid robot built by Hanson Robotics. Sophia did show some emotion. Social robots are fast becoming the next major user interface. Moreover, they are multi-taskers.  Whether pre-screening patients with signs of the most underdiagnosed diseases, providing multilingual travel assistance, helping tourists navigate and discover attractions, tutoring students, or enhancing customer engagement by supplying product information, social robots are becoming increasingly useful. That's why the World Economic Forum (WEF) named Social Robotics as one of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies in 2019. The social robotics market is estimated to grow to 699 million USD by 2023 (Research & Markets), with the healthcare sector as the major driver.

Don't Look Next Door; The Buddy Is at Home

Roboticists have warmed up to this challenge of designing social robots that help people with everyday tasks, such as cooking dinner, learning math, taking care of the elderly or assembling furniture. Blue Frog Robotics developed Buddy, positioning it as the emotional companion. Amazon's latest social robot- Astro, is a kind of an indoor sentinel. The mega e-retailer claims it can keep an eye on the pets, check if kids are doing their homework, help caretakers minister to older persons, and watch out for intruders. Other social robots have shown how disruptive they can be in human lives. For example, Kismet is a robot head that understands and exhibits emotion when interacting with humans, while Tico is developed to improve children's motivation in the classroom. In Bandit, you have a robotic assistant designed to teach social behaviour to autistic children. Jibo, a consumer-oriented social robot, understands speech and facial expressions and seeks to form relationships with the family that adopts it.


The Risks of Getting Too Social with Robots and What's Ahead

Robots are programmed devices. Though social robots have a limited understanding of our emotions, they still lack empathy and reasoning. Like other technology, robots are vulnerable to hardware malfunctions and failures. Plus, there lies the risk of people developing an over-dependence on social robots for emotional companionship. Social robots are designed to complement human efforts and not supersede them. I feel the widespread and mass adoption of social robots is still around a decade in the waiting. Before that, the roboticists have to get better in their craft and design robots whose emotional thinking and reactions match their human counterparts' wavelength. As we move on, greater man-machine collaboration is inevitable. Yet, it should not be without navigating risks and minding the 'ifs' and 'buts'.

Priyadarshi Pany


More Blog Posts from Priyadarshi Pany

User Experience - 3 MINS READ

Why Super Apps Are the Super Disruptors in User Experience

Digital Transformation - 2 MINS READ

Total Experience Can Transform Businesses for The Next Normal

CSM Editorial - 2 MINS READ

Co-Working- The Future of Work Is in Flexi Spaces

Agriculture - 3 MINS READ

How Crop Analytics Is The Right Balm For Procurement Pain

Emerging Technologies - 2 MINS READ

Metaverse- Connect with The Feel of Real In Virtual

Emerging Technologies - 2 MINS READ

Hyperloop- Reimagining How We Travel

Enterprise Resource Planning - 3 MINS READ

Four-Day Week- Productivity Hack Or New Normal @Workplace?

Digital service - 2 MINS READ

Freshworks' Success Should Spur Indian Start-Ups To Ring Bells, Globally

CSM Editorial - 2 MINS READ

Plugging Skill Gap Can Calm the Scramble for Tech Hiring

Digital Transformation - 3 MINS READ

Digital Twin - Twining Real With Virtual For A Connected World

Most Viewed Blog Posts

Emerging Technologies - 3 MINS READ

Artificial Intelligence: The Future Is Here

Emerging Technologies - 2 MINS READ

e-Governance: Adopting Agile Methodology

Block Chain - 1 MIN READ

Blockchain : The Trust Protocol for Data Integrity through Distributed Power

Digital service - 3 MINS READ

PWA - The Time Ahead For The Web

Smart City - 3 MINS READ

My City My Pride

Agriculture - 3 MINS READ

Tracing India’s True Farmers Through Land for Identifying True Beneficiaries

Data Analytics - 3 MINS READ

Making the Right Use of Data Power in the Challenging Times of Pandemic

Digital service - 2 MINS READ

Freshworks' Success Should Spur Indian Start-Ups To Ring Bells, Globally

Life @ CSM - 4 MINS READ

Managing Stress At Work Is No Rocket Science

GovTech Solution - 4 MINS READ

Agile in e-Governance

Emerging Technologies- Making Great Things Possible

Subscribe to our newsletter

If you choose to provide us with your e-mail address and/or other (indirect) personally identifiable information, we will only use such information to send you our newsletter