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Service Robotics: How Ready are
Consumers to Adopt and What Drives
Acceptance?
CHARLES L. COLBY, ROCKBRIDGE ASSOCIATES, INC.
A. PARASURAMAN, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
PRESENTED TO THE 25TH ANNUAL FRONTIERS IN SERVICES CONFERENCE | JUNE 24, 2016
• Determine consumer interest in service robots and identify the correlates of
interest in this technology
• Assess the potential for a robotics technology assessment tool based on the
Technology Readiness Index (TRI)
Study Objectives
• Robot – introduced by playwright Karal Capek (1920). Based on the Czech
word “robata” which means servant or obedient worker.
• Robotics – introduced by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1945). Asimov
subsequently created the 3 “laws of robotics” including “a robot may not
injure a human being … or allow a human to come to harm.”
• Service Robot – “a robot which operates semi- or fully autonomously to
perform services useful to the well being of humans and equipment,
excluding manufacturing operations.” (International Federation of Robotics).
Definitions
• Goal was to identify consumer interest in emerging robotic service
applications and perceptions that influence interest.
• Survey questions were included in the 2015 U.S. National Technology
Readiness Study*. Survey included 933 U.S. Adults surveyed from a
consumer online panel, and were weighted to match the U.S. Census. The
NTRS includes measures of technology readiness (Parasuraman & Colby,
2015) and demographics.
Our Study
*SPONSORED BY ROCKBRIDGE ASSOCIATES, A. PARASURAMAN AND THE CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE.
• “For this study, robots are
defined as follows: they
are technology that can
perform physical tasks
(e.g., driving, housework,
serving in a restaurant),
operate autonomously
without needing
instruction, and are
directed by computers
without help from people.”
Survey Definition of a Service Robot
Perform
Services
Service
Robot
Perform
Physical
Tasks
Intelligent/
Autonomous
Examples of Service Robots
Desirability of Service Robots
• Consumers are
highly interested in
robots that free them
from household toil.
• Consumers are also
interested in robotic
deliveries. It makes
no difference if a
“drone” is piloted by a
human or computer.
• Technology
readiness (TRI 2.0) is
a significant correlate
of perceived
desirability of service
robots.
Net
Desirability
Correlation with
TRI 2.0 (r)
-8% .35**
-14% .36**
+13% .39**
+10% .40**
+36% .32**
-10% .38**35
60
44
46
35
37
20
16
23
21
16
18
45
24
34
33
49
45
Perceived Desirability of Service Robots
Agreement (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagreement (1-3)
Purchase or lease a driverless vehicle: the vehicle would transport you to
where you request, but would drive itself aided by computers
Ride in a driverless taxi: the taxi would transport you to where you request, but
would drive itself aided by computers
Receive a package from a remote controlled drone: the aircraft would be
controlled by a human pilot from a remote location
Receive a package from an automated pilotless drone: the aircraft would find
its way to you aided by computers
Robotic Home Assistant: the robot would autonomously handle physical labor
tasks inside your home including vacuuming, scrubbing floors and cleaning
bathroom fixtures, all controlled by computers
Robotic Server: when you go to a restaurant or coffee shop, you would be waited
on by a robot that would take your order, bring it to you, collect your payments,
and help with special requests
• The Technology
Readiness Index (TRI)
measures consumer
technology beliefs on 4
independent dimensions.
It is highly stable in the
short term.
• Acceptance measures
for service robots were
designed to mirror the
dimensions of the TRI.
We call these a Robot
Acceptance Index.
Measuring Perceptions of Robots
Technology Readiness Service Robot Perceptions
MOTIVATORS
Optimism • Give Control
• Make me Productive
Innovativeness • First to adopt
• Interested in topic
INHIBITORS
Discomfort • Hard to use
• Not for anyone
Insecurity • Risk of dependence
• Risk of harm
General Beliefs/Psychographics Acceptance/Robot Specific
• The most prevalent
view of service robots
is that they will lead to
dependence. Yet,
this has little
correlation with
perceived desirability.
• The top correlates of
perceived desirability
of service robots are
positive attributes –
control, productivity, a
desire to adopt, and a
desire to keep up.
• The top negative
correlate is related to
discomfort – a
concern making
robots work properly.
Consumer Views of Service Robots
(Robot Technology Assessment Index)
36
66
44
39
48
30
44
42
30
17
24
22
20
14
19
25
35
17
33
40
33
57
37
33
Perceptions of Service Robots
Agreement (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagreement (1-3)
Net
Agreement
Correlation with
Robot Desirability
+9% .54**
+7% .57**
-27% .55**
+15% .57**
-1% -.24**
+11% -.15**
+49% -.05 ns
+1% -.18**
POPT1: They would give people more control over their daily lives
POPT2: They would make me more productive in my personal life
PINN1: I would be the first in my circle of friends to acquire one
PINS2: They could cause harm to people who use them
PINS1: People would become too dependent on them
PDISC2: They would not be designed for use by ordinary people
PDISC1: I would have trouble learning how to make them work properly for me
PINN2: I would try to keep up with the latest developments about them
• Technology Readiness
(measured by the TRI 2.0)
correlates with Robot
Acceptance and
Desirability.
• Positive technology
readiness dimensions
correlate most closely, but
inhibitor dimensions also
play a role.
Role of Technology Readiness in Explaining
Acceptance and Desirability of Service Robots
Technology Readiness Index
(Dimensions and Overall Score)
Pearson r correlation
with Robot
Acceptance Index
Pearson r with mean
desirability of
Robotics Applications
Optimism .45** .38**
Innovativeness .43** .43**
Discomfort -.31** -.20**
Insecurity -.38** -.27*
Overall TRI .55** .46*
• Segments with higher
overall technology
readiness (Explorers and
Pioneers) show greater
acceptance of service
robots and consider
specific applications more
desirable.
• Pioneers, who possess
high discomfort and
insecurity with technology
in general, still consider
service robots highly
desirable (second only to
Explorers).
Desirability and Acceptance of Robots
Varies by Technology Readiness Segments
4.6
3.9
3.5 3.4
3.0
4.9
4.4
3.6
3.3
2.8
Explorers Pioneers Skeptics Hesitators Avoiders
Robotics Acceptance Index Desirability of Six Applications (Mean)
• Segments that consider service robots most desirable (starting with highest
correlates):
 Younger consumers: 18 to 34 year olds and 35 to 49 year olds
 Males
 Tech professionals
 Residents of suburbs (outer and close-in)
 Children live in the household
 Marital status is single
 Middle income ($30,000 to $75,000 annual HH income)
 Asian or Hispanic
• Education does not correlate, even though it is an important correlate of
techno-readiness
Demographic Correlates of Service
Robot Desirability
• While service robots are advanced technology, consumers would like the
robots to free them from menial drudgery (better to clean the toilet than drive
the kids to school).
• Consumers are less enthusiastic when a robot simply replaces a human to
perform a comparable task.
• Positive perceptions are more important than negative perceptions in driving
interest.
• Technology readiness is a significant correlate, which means service robots
need to be marketed the same way as other cutting edge innovation (e.g.,
sell the value proposition to “skeptics”).
• Demographics such as gender and age are important correlates.
Takeaways on Service Robotics…
• Developing an “Acceptance Index” for a specific technology shows promise.
It would offer the benefits of a solid theoretical foundation and a rich
diagnostic framework to explain acceptance.
• In the future, an index for a specific technology may require a comprehensive
development process. It may not be easy to create an in index that fits all
situations. The motivators and inhibitors may be different for each
technology.
• While the TRI benefits from a balanced set of attributes (half positive, half
negative), an acceptance metric may work better in surveys if all items have
a consistent direction (similar to SERVQUAL or CSI). E.g., I am confident
they will not harm you; anyone can use them.
Takeaways on a Robot Acceptance
Index
For more information or comments, please contact:
Charles Colby
ccolby@rockresearch.com
A. Parasuraman
aparasur@bus.miami.edu

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Service Robotics: How Ready are Consumers to Adopt and What Drives Acceptance?

  • 1. Service Robotics: How Ready are Consumers to Adopt and What Drives Acceptance? CHARLES L. COLBY, ROCKBRIDGE ASSOCIATES, INC. A. PARASURAMAN, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI PRESENTED TO THE 25TH ANNUAL FRONTIERS IN SERVICES CONFERENCE | JUNE 24, 2016
  • 2. • Determine consumer interest in service robots and identify the correlates of interest in this technology • Assess the potential for a robotics technology assessment tool based on the Technology Readiness Index (TRI) Study Objectives
  • 3.
  • 4. • Robot – introduced by playwright Karal Capek (1920). Based on the Czech word “robata” which means servant or obedient worker. • Robotics – introduced by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1945). Asimov subsequently created the 3 “laws of robotics” including “a robot may not injure a human being … or allow a human to come to harm.” • Service Robot – “a robot which operates semi- or fully autonomously to perform services useful to the well being of humans and equipment, excluding manufacturing operations.” (International Federation of Robotics). Definitions
  • 5. • Goal was to identify consumer interest in emerging robotic service applications and perceptions that influence interest. • Survey questions were included in the 2015 U.S. National Technology Readiness Study*. Survey included 933 U.S. Adults surveyed from a consumer online panel, and were weighted to match the U.S. Census. The NTRS includes measures of technology readiness (Parasuraman & Colby, 2015) and demographics. Our Study *SPONSORED BY ROCKBRIDGE ASSOCIATES, A. PARASURAMAN AND THE CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE.
  • 6. • “For this study, robots are defined as follows: they are technology that can perform physical tasks (e.g., driving, housework, serving in a restaurant), operate autonomously without needing instruction, and are directed by computers without help from people.” Survey Definition of a Service Robot Perform Services Service Robot Perform Physical Tasks Intelligent/ Autonomous
  • 8. Desirability of Service Robots • Consumers are highly interested in robots that free them from household toil. • Consumers are also interested in robotic deliveries. It makes no difference if a “drone” is piloted by a human or computer. • Technology readiness (TRI 2.0) is a significant correlate of perceived desirability of service robots. Net Desirability Correlation with TRI 2.0 (r) -8% .35** -14% .36** +13% .39** +10% .40** +36% .32** -10% .38**35 60 44 46 35 37 20 16 23 21 16 18 45 24 34 33 49 45 Perceived Desirability of Service Robots Agreement (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagreement (1-3) Purchase or lease a driverless vehicle: the vehicle would transport you to where you request, but would drive itself aided by computers Ride in a driverless taxi: the taxi would transport you to where you request, but would drive itself aided by computers Receive a package from a remote controlled drone: the aircraft would be controlled by a human pilot from a remote location Receive a package from an automated pilotless drone: the aircraft would find its way to you aided by computers Robotic Home Assistant: the robot would autonomously handle physical labor tasks inside your home including vacuuming, scrubbing floors and cleaning bathroom fixtures, all controlled by computers Robotic Server: when you go to a restaurant or coffee shop, you would be waited on by a robot that would take your order, bring it to you, collect your payments, and help with special requests
  • 9. • The Technology Readiness Index (TRI) measures consumer technology beliefs on 4 independent dimensions. It is highly stable in the short term. • Acceptance measures for service robots were designed to mirror the dimensions of the TRI. We call these a Robot Acceptance Index. Measuring Perceptions of Robots Technology Readiness Service Robot Perceptions MOTIVATORS Optimism • Give Control • Make me Productive Innovativeness • First to adopt • Interested in topic INHIBITORS Discomfort • Hard to use • Not for anyone Insecurity • Risk of dependence • Risk of harm General Beliefs/Psychographics Acceptance/Robot Specific
  • 10. • The most prevalent view of service robots is that they will lead to dependence. Yet, this has little correlation with perceived desirability. • The top correlates of perceived desirability of service robots are positive attributes – control, productivity, a desire to adopt, and a desire to keep up. • The top negative correlate is related to discomfort – a concern making robots work properly. Consumer Views of Service Robots (Robot Technology Assessment Index) 36 66 44 39 48 30 44 42 30 17 24 22 20 14 19 25 35 17 33 40 33 57 37 33 Perceptions of Service Robots Agreement (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagreement (1-3) Net Agreement Correlation with Robot Desirability +9% .54** +7% .57** -27% .55** +15% .57** -1% -.24** +11% -.15** +49% -.05 ns +1% -.18** POPT1: They would give people more control over their daily lives POPT2: They would make me more productive in my personal life PINN1: I would be the first in my circle of friends to acquire one PINS2: They could cause harm to people who use them PINS1: People would become too dependent on them PDISC2: They would not be designed for use by ordinary people PDISC1: I would have trouble learning how to make them work properly for me PINN2: I would try to keep up with the latest developments about them
  • 11. • Technology Readiness (measured by the TRI 2.0) correlates with Robot Acceptance and Desirability. • Positive technology readiness dimensions correlate most closely, but inhibitor dimensions also play a role. Role of Technology Readiness in Explaining Acceptance and Desirability of Service Robots Technology Readiness Index (Dimensions and Overall Score) Pearson r correlation with Robot Acceptance Index Pearson r with mean desirability of Robotics Applications Optimism .45** .38** Innovativeness .43** .43** Discomfort -.31** -.20** Insecurity -.38** -.27* Overall TRI .55** .46*
  • 12. • Segments with higher overall technology readiness (Explorers and Pioneers) show greater acceptance of service robots and consider specific applications more desirable. • Pioneers, who possess high discomfort and insecurity with technology in general, still consider service robots highly desirable (second only to Explorers). Desirability and Acceptance of Robots Varies by Technology Readiness Segments 4.6 3.9 3.5 3.4 3.0 4.9 4.4 3.6 3.3 2.8 Explorers Pioneers Skeptics Hesitators Avoiders Robotics Acceptance Index Desirability of Six Applications (Mean)
  • 13. • Segments that consider service robots most desirable (starting with highest correlates):  Younger consumers: 18 to 34 year olds and 35 to 49 year olds  Males  Tech professionals  Residents of suburbs (outer and close-in)  Children live in the household  Marital status is single  Middle income ($30,000 to $75,000 annual HH income)  Asian or Hispanic • Education does not correlate, even though it is an important correlate of techno-readiness Demographic Correlates of Service Robot Desirability
  • 14. • While service robots are advanced technology, consumers would like the robots to free them from menial drudgery (better to clean the toilet than drive the kids to school). • Consumers are less enthusiastic when a robot simply replaces a human to perform a comparable task. • Positive perceptions are more important than negative perceptions in driving interest. • Technology readiness is a significant correlate, which means service robots need to be marketed the same way as other cutting edge innovation (e.g., sell the value proposition to “skeptics”). • Demographics such as gender and age are important correlates. Takeaways on Service Robotics…
  • 15. • Developing an “Acceptance Index” for a specific technology shows promise. It would offer the benefits of a solid theoretical foundation and a rich diagnostic framework to explain acceptance. • In the future, an index for a specific technology may require a comprehensive development process. It may not be easy to create an in index that fits all situations. The motivators and inhibitors may be different for each technology. • While the TRI benefits from a balanced set of attributes (half positive, half negative), an acceptance metric may work better in surveys if all items have a consistent direction (similar to SERVQUAL or CSI). E.g., I am confident they will not harm you; anyone can use them. Takeaways on a Robot Acceptance Index
  • 16. For more information or comments, please contact: Charles Colby ccolby@rockresearch.com A. Parasuraman aparasur@bus.miami.edu