Home Tech Robots with local accents appear more trustworthy and competent to users, research suggests

Robots with local accents appear more trustworthy and competent to users, research suggests

by Elijah
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Most robots, such as the Daleks and Optimus Prime, have the same monotone, automated voice.

Whether it’s Optimus Prime or the Daleks from Doctor Who, most robots have the same monotone, automated voice.

But research suggests that certain groups of people may prefer to use a familiar accent or dialect.

A study has found that speaking with a local accent can, in certain circumstances, make robots appear more trustworthy and competent.

Scientists at the University of Potsdam in Germany recruited 120 people living in Berlin or Brandenburg to conduct an online survey.

They asked participants to watch videos in which a robot using a male human voice spoke in standard German or the Berlin dialect, which is considered working class.

Most robots, such as the Daleks and Optimus Prime, have the same monotone, automated voice.

A study has found that speaking with a local accent, such as the Berlin dialect (pictured), can make robots appear more trustworthy and competent.

A study has found that speaking with a local accent, such as the Berlin dialect (pictured), can make robots appear more trustworthy and competent.

People were asked to rate the robot’s reliability and competence and to complete a questionnaire that included sections on how well they spoke the Berlin dialect and how often they used it.

In general, respondents preferred a robot that spoke standard German.

But those who were more comfortable with the Berlin dialect preferred the robot to speak their local language.

Lead author Katharina K├╝hne said: “If you are good at speaking a dialect, you are more likely to trust a robot that speaks the same way.”

“It seems that people trust the robot more because they find similarities.”

The team said context could play an important role in determining when a local accent is appropriate.

For example, it could be useful in a nursing home when it is important for people to feel a connection with the robot.

But in other situations, such as in a hospital or hotel, people may prefer a robot that speaks with a standard accent.

The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI.

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