The outbreak of Covid-19 precipitated the use of service robots in customer-facing services as a replacement for employ- ees to avoid human-to-human contact. However, this development has not resolved the debate as to whether robots should be characterized with gender attributes or simply be genderless. This study explores whether endowing a robot with gender attributes makes it more acceptable as a service provider among stated men and women. To this end, an experiment was conducted at a public fair in which a gendered robot simulated the provision of a service to customers, which consisted of offering them advice, hints, and messages of encouragement to help complete a eudaemonic puzzle. A parsimonious version of the Almere model was used to estimate acceptance of the technology. The findings reveal that for both stated men and women, the main drivers for accepting the female-coded robot are perceived usefulness and social influence, although women attach greater importance to social influence. For the male-coded robot, perceived usefulness and social influence are the main arguments for women, while for men they are enjoyment, perceived usefulness and, negatively, ease of use. In addition, different indirect effects between stated sexes are also identified. In summary, men and women consider different factors when accepting robots of each gender.


artificial intelligence, service robots, social aspects of automation.

Scientific reference

S. Forgas, R. Huertas, A. Andriella and G. Alenyà. Gendered human–robot interactions in services. International Journal of Social Robotics, 2023, to appear.