Slow but Likeable? Inefficient Robots as Caring Team Members

Ryan Kelly, Leon Watts

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This position paper discusses the notion of efficiency as a criterion for designing and evaluating the contributions that robots might make to human work teams. Participation in teams requires the coordination and prosecution of task-centric work activity but also requires the investment of caring social behavior as a distinctive kind of positive contribution to group interaction. Team spirit, emotional support, trust and reputation are all the outcome of such investments; they reinforce the capabilities of a team for particular joint activities, and contribute to its resilience over time. The requisite social behavior for these qualities of a team might be treated as a given in design considerations for human work teams. But the picture must change for human-robot teams: socially supportive behavior can only exist if it is explicitly designed in, and the consequent “task inefficiencies” are treated as a core part of the design equation. We draw on our own research on relational effort in social communication to offer some initial considerations about how task-inefficient action might be required for robots to engage in caring interactions with human collaborators.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2017
EventRobots in Groups and Teams: A CSCW 2017 workshop - Portland, USA United States
Duration: 26 Feb 201726 Feb 2017


WorkshopRobots in Groups and Teams
CountryUSA United States
Internet address


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