What if your wingman was a robot?

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Dating can evoke wonderful special feelings, but it can also provoke insecurity and depression when it doesn’t go well. We often look to friends and family for a confidence boost to try again. And again. And again. 

But what if you had that support and confidence 24/7? It turns out that robots can make excellent wingmen. 

According to a recent study published in Computers of Human Behavior, researchers wanted to see if robots could help humans see them as a “safe haven in times of need and as a secure base for becoming more confident in a subsequent stressful interaction.” Participants told a robot named “Travis” about recent dating experiences. Meanwhile doctors controlled the robot remotely, having Travis “react” with body language and statements of support, both positive and negative.

Afterwards, participants talked to potential romantic partners, and those that got positive reinforcement from Travis felt like they were more suitable for dates than those with negative responses. 

Of course, Travis can’t give us this emotional support on his own yet. After all, he had scientists pulling his strings from another room. But the study shows humans are open to robots with social skills. In the meantime, we will have to rely on our friends and ourselves for our pep talks. 

 

Watch the video to see why could benefit from a robot wingman. 


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