SapientX Blog

David Colleen, CEO – Our Software Speaks For Itself

What People See in 157 Robot Faces

robot faces image
– Human-centered computing -> Empirical studies in HCI;

In 2018, IEEE published the landmark study, What People See in 157 Robot Faces . For years, my friends who make robots, all told me that robots should have abstract representations of human features. It turns out that this group-think was entirely wrong. In the study, it was shown that people actually prefer to talk with robots that have human-like features.

Interestingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association found that the most successful voice assistants, in cars, were mimicking human conversation. They found that once people felt that the assistant had conversational skills, that they would name the assistant and personify their interaction experience resulting in higher user satisfaction scores and less driver distraction.

My friend Brian Eberman, the CTO for the Jibo Robot, told me that once they began to analyze the use logs for their robots, they found something very surprising… 60% of all conversation with their robot was purely conversational. “How are you?” “What a beautiful day!” This underscores just how social we all are and that we crave conversation… even with a robot.

At SapientX, we have taken this research to heart. While the use of avatars is always optional for our customers, once they review the research, almost all of them choose to use an avatar along with a SapientX voice experience in their product. It would seem that indeed… a picture really may be worth a thousand words!

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