Robot Girls and Boys? Constructing gender in social robotics

16 July 2014
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Building X, E0-002


In Japan, the 21st century has been called “The Age of Robots.” In the US, Bill Gates suggests that robots will be “in every home” within the next few decades. European projects like Cogniron and Robot-Era aim to develop assistive robotic technologies that can be used in everyday living. This increasing “socialization” of robots, in which non-experts interact with these emerging technologies in naturalistic environments, brings up a diverse set of issues related to the gender and technology. One readily apparent concern is the gendered design of social robots, which includes their physical appearance, behavior, and the choice of tasks and jobs to be automated. A second issue relates to the gendered dynamics of human-robot interaction, both in regard to the robot’s gender and to differential effects of users’ gender on expectations and responses to different types of robots.