Info Sci Field Faculty Guy Hoffman shares his insight with the Christian Science Monitor on how robots have the capability to evoke human emotions, but actually connecting with humans is a much larger challenge. The jumping-off point is Toyota Motor's new robotic companion, Kirobo Mini, which is designed to trigger a maternal response from its owner. The question is: Can people interact and connect with a robot baby? Not necessarily, Hoffman explains.

“Technology definitely has the capability to evoke human emotions and behaviors,” Hoffman said, “but there’s still a big difference between that and the way we relate to other humans.”

Hoffman then lays out two studies he and his colleagues explored regarding human-robot interaction, suggesting that a robot's behavior toward us can evoke some of the same psychological effects as a human's.

"Robots can affect how we feel about ourselves and how we behave,” Hoffman said.