“There’s just no reason that we can’t have robots that don’t have more of the appearance of our workforce,” Radford says.
“There’s no reason that we don’t have robots that are inspired by the male form and robots that are inspired by the female form.” In order to compete in the competition, the robot needed to complete tasks that would demonstrate its ability to help humans in disaster situations—drive a car, navigate debris, climb stairs.
In 2007, General Motors ran a commercial featuring an assembly-line robot that loses its job after dropping a screw.
The robot doesn’t look human—it’s a mechanical arm and some hydraulics mounted on a metal body with wheels.
Overall, the students expressed a preference for the female robot, though in this case whether it was simply a preference for a more human robot is unclear. When asked to describe the robot, one student—gender unspecified—answered: Well, it’s female, so that’s a positive. The feminine form is typified as being weak or fragile in some form, but really inviting and warm and more interactive.
One of those qualities is gender, and unless given specific cues otherwise, most people faced with a robot tend to default to male.I gotta protect myself possibly.” Other research has yielded similar results showing that a robot’s perceived gender can change how a person interacts with it.In 2005, researchers asked students to explain dating norms to a robot that had either a feminine voice and pink lips or a masculine voice and gray lips, which the majority of students identified as female and male, respectively.NASA’s official stance is that robots, Valkyrie included, don’t have gender, and that Valkyrie’s appearance originated from engineering decisions, including a need to move the robot’s 30-pound battery pack to its torso to balance its center of gravity.Once that resulted in some feminine—ahem—attributes, the team decided to run with it.