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Most people prefer friendly robots — but not in France and Japan

Japanese prefer formal robots, according to a survey.

Latest Robots On Display At Robodex Trade Show
A humanoid robot on display at the Robodex trade show in Tokyo
Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty

As robots increasingly replace human jobs, thanks to record spending on automation, how should they behave? That preference depends on where you live.

LivePerson, a company that works in automated customer service, recently surveyed 5,000 people on what personality types they prefer in a customer service bot.

The majority, 62 percent, said they want bots to be friendly, 21 percent would prefer a formal bot and 9 percent said they’d like their bot to be humorous. Only 4 percent said they prefer a curt robot.

But that preference varies by country and culture.

The vast majority of Americans surveyed — 78 percent — preferred friendly robots, with just 13 percent preferring a formal robot personality. Friendly robot types also won handily in Australia, the U.K. and Germany.

But in France, an equal percentage of survey respondents — 37 percent — preferred friendly and formal bots. (France was also where the largest percentage of respondents — 8 percent — preferred a “hip” robot personality.)

And in Japan, where robots have long been part of popular culture — and are increasingly being discussed for eldercare purposes — respondents had a different take. The most — 51 percent — wanted a formal robot, while just 20 percent preferred a friendly robot.

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