There are new advances in technology on an almost daily basis. For example, we are currently seeing an explosion in the use of chatbots. These developments in AI and robotics technology are having a huge impact on social robots, as these agents evolve from automated devices to highly autonomous partners. These social robots are ready to enter office and service environments such as hotels, retail and banking, where they can interact with customers. The potential of social robots has always been great, but groundbreaking technological developments and the combination with AI multiply this potential. As a result, their integration is rapidly changing the landscape of business and services.
In contrast to other forms of technology, social robots have what is known as automated social presence, which is why customers tend to treat them as social entities rather than as machines. In addition, social robots are increasingly developing social skills that enable them to recognize human emotions and to behave in human-like ways. The wide range of benefits that social robots can offer may be the reason why they have attracted so much and growing interest from the research community.
We welcome exciting contributions that extend our understanding of social human- robot interaction by addressing issues that sharpen and guide our view of the future. Business and service environments are of particular interest. With these findings, we aim not only to advance theoretical knowledge on the topic but also to help practitioners and organizations.