Should robots look human to be likeable?

I wonder why so many robots projects are based on human-like androids. The human body is a great system with some mechanical complexity, but also many limitations. Thus, copying the human body for robots may end up in sub-optimized and over complex systems.

I assume the idea about having robots around us as cybernetic domestic servants, pets or caretakers in near future is scary, therefore scientists and inventors try to give their machines a more familiar look.

But should robots look human to be likeable?

Lego’s interpretation of R2D2 and C3PO

Remembering the Star Wars droids, the android C3PO looks somewhat human, is knowledgeable about many things but clumsy. R2D2 looks more like an industrial vacuum cleaner or an oversized can, but so smart and effective.

Both are likeable despite their respective looks, talents and limitations.

Another example is the couple made of Wall-e and his gynoid-friend Eve. The first is believed to be male and looks like a cubic panzer with binocular periscope while Eve is identified as female (not only by her name) despite her far lesser sensitivity than Wall-e.

Again, these two are likeable, and whatever happens to any of the four, good or bad, moves us. The human-like look of a robot does not seem to be very influencing their likeability.

About the authorIf you have an idea why so many robot projects go for androids, feel free to share in a comment!

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