Tom Williams, Daniel Grollman, Mingyuan Han, Ryan Blake Jackson, Jane Lockshin, Ruchen Wen, Zachary Nahman, and Qin Zhu


International Conference on Social Robotics

Publication Year

While the ultimate goal of natural-language based Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) may be free-form, mixed-initiative dialogue, social robots deployed in the near future will likely primarily engage in wakeword-driven interaction, in which users’ commands are prefaced by a wakeword such as “Hey, Robot.” This style of interaction helps to allay user privacy concerns, as the robot’s full speech recognition module need not be employed until the target wakeword is used. Unfortunately, there are a number of concerns in the popular media surrounding this style of interaction, with consumers fearing that it is training users (in particular, children) to be rude towards technology, and by extension, rude towards other humans. In this paper, we present a study that demonstrates how an alternate style of wakeword, i.e., “Excuse me, Robot” may allay this concern, by priming users to phrase commands as Indirect Speech Acts.