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Say What you Want, I’m not Listening! A conversational social robot behavior design for self-reflect

We present a conversational social robot behaviour design that draws from psychotherapy research to support individual self-reflection and wellbeing, without requiring the robot to parse or otherwise understand what the user is saying. This simplicity focused approached enabled us to intersect the well-being aims with privacy and simplicity, while achieving high robustness. We implemented a fully autonomous and standalone (not network enabled) prototype and conducted a proof-of-concept study as an initial step to test the feasibility of our behaviour design: whether people would successfully engage with our simple behaviour and could interact meaningfully with it. We deployed our robot unsupervised for 48 hours into the homes of 14 participants. All participants engaged with self-reflection with the robot without reporting any interaction challenges or technical issues. This supports the feasibility of our specific behaviour design, as well as the general viability of our non-parsing simplicity approach to conversation, which we believe to be an exciting avenue for further exploration. Our results thus pave the way for further exploring how conversational behaviour designs like ours may support people living with loneliness.

Gonzalez, AL, Geiskkovitch, DY, Young, JE. "Say What you Want, I'm not Listening! A conversational social robot behavior design for self-reflection that does not parse user speech." Journal of Interactive Media. In press.