Interaction Studies 21 (1):85-110 (2020)
AbstractWe analyze the use of Silbot – a “dementia-prevention robot” – in a regional health center in South Korea. From our on-site observation of the Silbot classes, we claim that the efficacy of the robot class relies heavily on the “strained collaboration” between the human instructor and the robot. “Strained collaboration” refers to the ways in which the instructor works with the robot, attempting to compensate for the robot’s functional limitation and social awkwardness. In bringing Silbot into the classroom setting, the instructor employs characteristic verbal tones, bodily movements, and other pedagogical tactics. The instructor even talks over the robot, downplaying its interactional capacity. We conclude that any success of such robot programs requires a deeper understanding of the spatial and human context of robot use, including the role of human operators or mediators and also that this understanding should be reflected in the design, implementation, and evaluation of robot programs.
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