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Robot Personality (Redux)

In this recent article,

the author is quoted as saying “If you make robots, and your target demographic isn’t children, stop trying to give your machines a personality. Robots suck at being humans. Instead of asking how robots can be more like people, just make them useful.”

What’s your opinion: should a robot have a personality? Why or why not?

Do you prefer utility over personality in a home robot?


I’m somewhere in between. I can’t say that a robot like Sophia would provide value in my life. Pretty much she just reminds me how much I appreciate my actual human and animal friends!

But… I do like robots that have a “robot” personality. Not human, but not zero personality. There’s a ton of room for robots to have cute, fun, helpful personality elements that make interacting with them more pleasant. I find Cozmo (at least in his videos) to be pretty charming, actually. Without that charm, I wouldn’t even consider having him around.

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Like @donna, I think of having a personality and acting human as distinct concepts. Cozmo is charming. There are technical hurdles that make interacting with Cozmo annoying but the personality aspect if cool. (like needing to join Cozmo’s wi-fi network from your phone each and every time)

There are also many situations where the personality IS the functionality. Take, for example, elder-care, as discussed with Jibo in this article: