Social Domestic Robots (SDRs) will soon be launched en masse among commercial markets. Previously, social robots only inhabited scientific labs; now there is an opportunity to conduct experiments to investigate human-robot relationships (including user expectations of social interaction) within more naturalistic, domestic spaces, as well as to test models of technology acceptance. To this end we exposed 20 participants to advertisements prepared by three robotics companies, explaining and “pitching” their SDRs’ functionality (namely, Pepper by SoftBank; Jibo by Jibo, Inc.; and Buddy by Blue Frog Robotics). Participants were interviewed and the data was thematically analyzed to critically examine their initial reactions, concerns and impressions of the three SDRs. Using this approach, we aim to complement existing survey results pertaining to SDRs, and to try to understand the reasoning people use when evaluating SDRs based on what is publicly available to them, namely, advertising. Herein, we unpack issues raised concerning form/function, security/privacy, and the perceived emotional impact of owning an SDR. We discuss implications for the adequate design of socially engaged robotics for domestic applications, and provide four practical steps that could improve the relationships between people and SDRs. An additional contribution is made by expanding existing models of technology acceptance in domestic settings with a new factor of privacy.
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