The Rise of the Roboid

Leopoldina Fortunati, Alessandra Sorrentino, Laura Fiorini, Filippo Cavallo
2021 International Journal of Social Robotics  
AbstractThe aim of this paper is to analyze a new phenomenon that is emerging in the field of social robotics, which we name as "roboid". The roboid is a robot that is still at the prototype stage but claims to be fully functioning. We argue that the roboid has been created to handle a new phase between the prototyping and the commercialization of robots. In this intermediate phase, a wide-spread promotional campaign is organized by robot producers, with the purpose of understanding the
more » ... needs, and suggestions of potential customers. We present the first case of a a highly human-like roboid named Sophia. We carried out the visual analysis of the content and the content-agnostic factors of a selection of 15 videos uploaded on YouTube on the social robot Sophia and a qualitative analysis of the textual component of these videos to investigate a selected part of the promotional campaign on Sophia. Furthermore, on the 23,810 comments that users have posted on these videos, we applied quantitative analysis to explore the observers' opinions about Sophia. Results highlight that: (1) a powerful but potentially ridiculous narrative has been used to build the rhetoric of Sophia; (2) the comments on the videos are too poor to enable a co-construction of this social robot with the audiences (implicit intention of Hanson Robotics); (3) the introduction of the roboid might be a very good solution to reduce the uncertainties that may occur when a new robot moves directly from the laboratory to the market.
doi:10.1007/s12369-020-00732-y fatcat:35cvy3oid5esxj25oer3fxe6cq