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Better Than Human: About the Psychological Superpowers of Robots

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Social Robotics (ICSR 2016)

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Abstract

Social interaction is crucial for psychological wellbeing. However, for the elderly, desiring to live independently in their homes for as long as possible, getting the emotional care needed can become challenging. Robots as social companions may help. To design companions, we argue to focus on the hybrid nature of robots in between being a “thing” and a “human” thus utilizing the unique “capabilities” of a robot. We discuss six psychological superpowers of robots rooted in their “thingness” rather than “humanness.” Robots are void of competitiveness, have endless patience, can be unconditionally subordinated, have the ability to contain themselves, do not take things personally and can assume responsibility. These qualities all relate to everyday companionship, but may be difficult to actually realize for fellow humans. By exploiting these superpowers, robot companions can become meaningful – not as a substitute for other humans, but as a novel, complementary form of social interaction.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    SYMPARTNER 16SV7221 German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), project SYMPARTNER (Grant: 16SV7221).

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Correspondence to Julika Welge .

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Welge, J., Hassenzahl, M. (2016). Better Than Human: About the Psychological Superpowers of Robots. In: Agah, A., Cabibihan, JJ., Howard, A., Salichs, M., He, H. (eds) Social Robotics. ICSR 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 9979. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47437-3_97

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47437-3_97

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