How Can Large Language Models Enable Better Socially Assistive Human-Robot Interaction: A Brief Survey


  • Zhonghao Shi University of Southern California
  • Ellen Landrum University of Southern California
  • Amy O'Connell University of Southern California
  • Mina Kian University of Southern California
  • Leticia Pinto-Alva University of Southern California
  • Kaleen Shrestha University of Southern California
  • Xiaoyuan Zhu University of Southern California
  • Maja J Matarić University of Southern California



Impact of GenAI on Social and Individual Well-being


Socially assistive robots (SARs) have shown great success in providing personalized cognitive-affective support for user populations with special needs such as older adults, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and individuals with mental health challenges. The large body of work on SAR demonstrates its potential to provide at-home support that complements clinic-based interventions delivered by mental health professionals, making these interventions more effective and accessible. However, there are still several major technical challenges that hinder SAR-mediated interactions and interventions from reaching human-level social intelligence and efficacy. With the recent advances in large language models (LLMs), there is an increased potential for novel applications within the field of SAR that can significantly expand the current capabilities of SARs. However, incorporating LLMs introduces new risks and ethical concerns that have not yet been encountered, and must be carefully be addressed to safely deploy these more advanced systems. In this work, we aim to conduct a brief survey on the use of LLMs in SAR technologies, and discuss the potentials and risks of applying LLMs to the following three major technical challenges of SAR: 1) natural language dialog; 2) multimodal understanding; 3) LLMs as robot policies.






Impact of GenAI on Social and Individual Well-being