“He Knows When You Are Sleeping” — Privacy and The Personal Robot Companion

Dag Sverre Syrdal, Michael L. Walters, Nuno R. Otero, Kheng Lee Koay, Kerstin Dautenhahn

One of the most compelling visions of future robots is that of the robot butler. An entity dedicated to fulfilling your every need. This obviously has its benefits, but there could be a flipside to this vision. To fulfill the needs of its users, it must first be aware of them, and so it could potentially amass a huge amount of personal data regarding its user, data which may or may not be safe from accidental or intentional disclosure to a third party. How may prospective owners of a personal robot feel about the data that might be collected about them? In order to investigate this issue experimentally, we conducted an exploratory study where 12 participants were exposed to an HRI scenario in which disclosure of personal information became an issue. Despite the small sample size interesting results emerged from this study, indicating how future owners of personal robots feel regarding what the robot will know about them, and what safeguards they believe should be in place to protect owners from unwanted disclosure of private information.

Subjects: 17. Robotics; 6. Computer-Human Interaction

Submitted: May 15, 2007

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