Robotic servants have been a distant dream for people seeking to avoid house chores for a century and more but with the arrival of a new breed of robot vacuums, mops and even driverless cars people are now more optimistic than ever about our silicon future.
A new study conducted by MediavestSpark has shown that fully a third of UK citizens think their households will be managed by machines in as little as 13 years, although these robots are more likely to be wheeled tools than bipedal assistants owing to deeply ingrained fears fueled by a diet of Hollywood dystopia.
Unsurprisingly a majority of Brits would trust a robot to carry out household chores, with 30% happy to set a machine to some DIY while 20% could foresee a use for a robotic personal trainer. At the other end of the spectrum however as few as 2% of respondents would trust a glitch prone device to carry out the babysitting. Half of those polled said they wouldn't invite a humanoid through their door.
Perhaps the biggest barrier to adoption is likely to be cost however with 78% of respondents refusing to pay more than £500 for a bot of their own, although one in ten would be happy to fork out over £1k for the privilege.
Mediavest Spark chief executive Rachel Forde commented: “Our fascination with robots and artificial intelligence is increasing - just look at the rising popularity of technology like Amazon’s Alexa. We’ve long been aware of the potential for brands and advertisers, but our research highlights where more investment and innovation is needed for Brits to both trust and buy robots.
“In reality robots are already here so it’s surprising that more people don’t think they will be mainstream sooner. In terms of the technological advances, 2030 seems an awfully long way away.”
The study obtained the views of 2000 people to inspire a series of technology focused thinktank events.
As in most things robotics Japan is leading the way, with Softbank Robotics introducing a humanoid robot called Pepper which is capable of empathising with humans.