Opinions and attitudes toward humanoid robots in the Middle East

Nikolaos Mavridis, Marina Selini Katsaiti, Silvia Naef, Abdullah Falasi, Abdulrahman Nuaimi, Hamdan Araifi, Ahmed Kitbi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Robotics is expected to boom in the near future, moving massively beyond traditional application areas, and extending to all parts of the globe. Thus, in order to enable effective international customization of robot designs, and in order to facilitate their smoother harmonious introduction to everyday life, it is important to study the opinions and attitudes toward robots in different regions of the world. Although there exists a small body of research covering the US, EU, and Asia, there is almost no research regarding attitudes toward robots in the Middle East, a region with its own marked cultural idiosyncrasies. Therefore, we brought Ibn Sina, an Arabic-language conversational android robot to Dubai's Gitex, one of the most important exhibitions in the region, and performed a questionnaire-based empirical study with 355 subjects from 38 countries, which had seen the robot interacting, and most of which had also interacted directly with it. Many interesting findings are presented: First, a statistically significant ordering of preferred application areas for robots overall was found, as well as strong effects of the region of origin on the preferred applications. Furthermore, strong religion, age, and education effects were observed. Overall, the results together with a theoretical discussion of possible causes provide interesting insights on cultural acceptance of robots in this richly complex region, which potentially have strong implications to their wider deployment in the future in specific settings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)517-534
    Number of pages18
    JournalAI and Society
    Volume27
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

    Keywords

    • Cross-cultural studies
    • Human-robot interaction
    • Middle East
    • Opinions and attitudes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Philosophy
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Artificial Intelligence

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