Survey says: We’d rather let robots cook than drive

More people would be comfortable letting robots service cars than drive them, a new survey shows. And fully half of those surveyed would be fine with a robot chef or personal trainer.

The survey by Study.com, a web site that offers online instruction for college courses, queried 1031 Americans aged 18 and over about which of a range of tasks they’d entrust to a robot powered by artificial intelligence.

Unsurprisingly, the highest percentage of robot acceptance came for the most menial tasks, with 73 percent saying they’d let robots clean house or deliver packages. Next highest on the list were providing tech support (69 percent) and landscaping your yard (64 percent).

Equally predictably, the lowest numbers were for tasks of a highly personal nature, or those involving complex judgments and advanced education: A mere 8 percent would let a robot choose their spouse (actually, that almost sounds high), while only 14 percent would let a robot defend them in court or choose their party’s senatorial candidate.

Only 29 percent of respondents said they’d be comfortable with a robot driving their car—and even fewer (14 percent) would let a robot drive their kids to school.

Ominously for journalists, half of those surveyed would accept robots researching and reporting news — the same number that supported robot chefs. Robots might be even more of a threat to film and TV critics (70 percent of respondents would accept a robot’s entertainment recommendations), auto repair workers (54 percent would let a robot service their car), and guidance counselors (60 percent would let a robot recommend colleges to apply to).

Slightly less endangered professions included tax preparers (47 percent supported robots doing this), security guards (43 percent) and retail salespeople (40 percent).

Robots proved less acceptable substitutes for some highly trained professionals: 33 percent of respondents said they’d let a robot teach their child, 27 percent would let them invest their money, 24 percent would let them write their will, 23 percent would let them perform surgery or prescribe medicine, and then there’s the aforementioned 14 percent who’d go with a robot lawyer.

But you don’t necessarily need an advanced degree to be more acceptable than a robot: Only 20 percent of respondents said they’d let a robot cut their hair or plan their wedding. But we’re apparently less confident about our taste in clothes: 38 percent said they’d let a robot choose their wardrobe.

Study.com said survey respondents were randomly selected from an opt-in panel of millions via Survey Monkey, and the survey was performed in late July. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent.

Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Deals

Clean up with robot vac, upright vacuum, and spot and stain remover deals

Whether you're gift shopping or need to get your house ready for the holidays, deals on household cleaning appliances are always welcome. We found Walmart's best deals on robot vacs, upright vacuum cleaners, and spot and stain cleaners.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Deals

Best deals on smart locks so you’ll never have to worry about unlocked doors

Is your front door locked? We found the best deals on smart home door locks that take the worry out of wondering if your home is secure. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely and some models let you control locks with voice commands.
Deals

These Amazon kitchen deals are perfect for Christmas gifts and healthy eating

Today is day 10 of Amazon’s “12 Days of Deals,” and it’s all about kitchen. From blenders to Instant Pots to KitchenAid mixers and more, practical yet highly coveted small appliances are available for up to 50 percent off.
Product Review

The Brava Oven takes all the thinking out of cooking

Using bulbs to cook food at different light frequencies, the Brava Oven lets even the clueless cook a tasty meal. But your own smart chef doesn’t come cheap.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Smart Home

The Apple HomePod gets a whole lot cheaper today at Target

Apple's HomePod hasn't been the most popular smart speaker on the market but for users who are all in on Apple's heavily policed ecosystem of devices, this smart speaker is on serious sale at Target this week.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Smart Home

Uber Eats is testing a system for cheaper meal delivery

You know how Uber Pool offers cheaper trips if riders share a car? Well, Uber Eats is currently testing the same idea for meal delivery, and it could mean cheaper orders for customers.
Smart Home

Dear Instant Pot Smart: I love you. Thank you for changing my life

After taking the Instant Pot Smart WiFi Programmable Pressure Cooker for a spin, one long-time product reviewer finds much to love about the device she long coveted, despite that it’s not really that smart.
Deals

Brew, drip, or press a fresh cup of joe with today’s best deals on coffee makers

To kick off the day with a fresh cup or upgrade your home coffee machine to accommodate the preferences of dinner guests, check these hot deals for drip coffee makers, espresso machines, and single-serving devices on Walmart and Amazon.
Smart Home

People are stealing Ring doorbells (and it’s no knock-knock joke)

Ring Video Doorbell thefts in a Denver neighborhood raise questions about how much security the smart home devices actually provide. One homeowner and the police have a video of the theft. Here's what to do if your Ring device is stolen.