FURHAT, A ROBOT WITH THE HUMAN TOUCH, WANTS TO HEAR YOUR WOES
FURHAT tilts its head, smiles, exudes empathy and warmth, and encourages us to open up.
The robot, a three-dimensional bust with a projection of a human-like face, aims to build on our newfound ease talking to voice assistants like Siri and Alexa by persuading us to interact with it as if it were a person, picking up on our cues to strike up a rapport.
Yet precisely because it isn’t human, and is therefore free from bias, the robot can spur people to be more honest, its creator says, making it useful in situations such as screening for health risks where people often lie.
“We’ve seen research that shows that in certain situations people are more comfortable talking about difficult issues with a robot than with a human,” said Samer Al Moubayed, chief executive of Furhat Robotics.
That’s because a robot’s personality can mirror the personality of the person interacting with it and because people don’t feel judged, he added.
The robot has been used in Frankfurt Airport as a multilingual concierge, helping travellers find their way, and also for customer services training. Science and technology firm Merck and Furhat Robotics recently unveiled a robot in Stockholm which will ask people about their health and lifestyle, and screen for disease risk. If necessary, the robot will advise them to go to a doctor. — Reuters.