February 6, 2019

Could you be friends with a robot? For most, it’s a step too far

By Lucy Ingham

Despite the plethora of science fiction where humans befriend robots of many forms, in reality the prospect of being friends with a robot is too much for most people.

In a survey by YouGov analysed by OnBuy.com, two-thirds of British adults said they either definitely or probably would not be friends with a robot in the future.

This varied slightly by gender. 37% of men and 47% of women said they definitely would not make friends with a robot, while 31% of men and 30% of women said they probably wouldn’t.

By contrast, just 3% of men and 1% of women said they thought they definitely would be friends with a robot in the future, while 7% of men and 2% of women said they probably would.

This aversion to robotic intimacy goes further when it comes to the prospect of a romantic relationship with a robot.

93% of women and 82% of men said they would not engage in such a relationship.

Most wouldn’t be friends with a robot, but what about colleagues?

While being mates with a robot is too much for most people, the idea of having one as a colleague, something that is becoming increasingly likely in some industries, is more widely supported – although not by much.

33% of men and 22% of women stated they would be comfortable having a robotic colleague, however, 54% of men and 65% of women said they would uncomfortable with the prospect.

The idea of robotic managers prompts even greater aversion, with just 20% of men and 12% of women saying they would be either fairly or very comfortable with the idea.

This is despite previous research that found that a third of UK employees think a robot would do a better job than their current human manager, suggesting that any form of manager prompts dislike for many British workers.

Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed cross border deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

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