LCSR Seminar: Lionel Robert “Human Trust in Robots: Teammate or Tool? Does it Matter?”

November 8, 2023 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Hackerman B17


As robotics increasingly integrates into our social and professional spheres, the question of how humans perceive and trust robots has gained prominence. Are robots regarded as utilitarian tools, designed to fulfill tasks efficiently, or are they embraced as teammates, eliciting human-like trust? Some argue that humans interact with robots in a way that resembles social interactions with other humans, a viewpoint aligned with the ‘computers are social actors’ (CASA) concept. Conversely, proponents of the robot as a tool view contend that humans perceive robots as non-human tools, promoting the use of human-to-automation theories and trust measures. In this presentation, we delve into these arguments and propose an empirical study aimed at shedding light on this debate.


He holds the position of Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan and boasts a number of distinguished memberships, including AIS Distinguished Member Cum Laude and IEEE Senior Member. Dr. Robert obtained his Ph.D. in Information Systems from Indiana University, where he was a BAT Fellow and KPMG Scholar. Currently, he is the director of the Michigan Autonomous Vehicle Research Intergroup Collaboration (MAVRIC) and affiliated with various institutions, including the University of Michigan Robotics Institute, the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, and the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication at Indiana University. Additionally, he is a member of the AAAS Community Advisory Board. Dr. Robert’s research interests revolve around human collaboration with technology, which is reflected in his published works in leading information systems and information science journals as well as notable computer and robotics conferences. His research has garnered numerous accolades, including best paper awards/nominations from the Journal of the Association of Information Systems, the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, SAE International, and the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human–Robot Interaction. Dr. Robert has received research funding from various sources, such as the AAA Foundation, Automotive Research Center/U.S. Army, Army Research Laboratory, Toyota Research Institute, MCity, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, and the National Science Foundation. He has also been featured in print, radio, and television for major media outlets like ABC, CBS, CNN, CNBC, Michigan Radio, Inc., New York Times, and the Associated Press.