This study aims to determine the perception and attitude of consumers toward the presence of cybernetic avatars (CAs) as part of a social inclusion initiative.
A mixed method was used to conduct the study using facial recognition expressions and surveys. Three studies were conducted. Study 1 examines consumers’ attitudes and perceptions of a CA and what it can do to promote social inclusivity among people who have mobility disabilities but wish to work. Study 2 tests a conceptual model to determine the factors that affect consumers’ intention to visit an establishment that uses CAs as their employees. Study 3 extends Study 2 and tests two moderators predicted to influence consumers’ attitudes toward CAs and their intention to visit an establishment that uses CAs.
The results show that consumers generally accept and are excited about such technological developments. Study 2 further supports this positive perception with its conceptual model. Study 3 provides insights into how the moderating factors influence a consumer’s attitude toward CAs and their intention to visit the establishment. Between consumers who have a mobility disability and those who do not, those who have mobility disabilities showed a more positive attitude and intention to patronize such an establishment.
Studies on CAs are still in the infancy stage. This study provides insight into how society can use technology to promote social inclusion, contrary to prior opposing arguments towards integrating robots into society.