Abstract Louis Mccallum 23rd January 2014
With a view to studying the development of social relationships between humans and robots, it is our contention that music can provide the extended engagement that other open ended interaction studies have failed to do. We confirm this as a positive approach with the results of a survey-based study that demonstrates significant similarities between the provisions of a friendship and a relationship with a regular co-musician. However, we do not believe that a robot best equipped to build sustainable and meaningful relationships with humans will be one that can solely play music. We suspect the addition of simulated social behaviours will add to a sense of believability or social presence, which, along with the engaging musical interaction, will be conducive to forming relationships. The first steps in this process were to develop a robot able to play a drum kit and a composition algorithm to respond to a human pianist. We used this system to conduct a study into the effects of presenting the robot as a social actor or as an instrument and found greater fluency of playing and engagement and observed more behavioural signifiers of an interpersonal relationship with the former condition. We plan further longitudinal studies into the effects of head movements, facial expressions and the extension of the relationship beyond the physical embodiment to include virtual communication.
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