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Many societies are on the brink of a robotic era. In the near future, various autonomous computer systems are expected to be part of many people’s daily lives. Because attitudes influence the adoption of new technologies, we studied the attitudes towards robots in the European Union between 2012 and 2017. Using representative samples from 27 countries (three waves, total N = 80,396), these analyses showed that, within five years, public opinions regarding robots exhibited a marked negative trend. Respondents became more cautious towards the use of robots. This tendency was particularly strong for robots at the workplace, which are, despite the drop, still more positively evaluated than robots performing surgeries or autonomous cars. Attitudes were more positive among men and people in white-collar jobs. Moreover, countries with a larger share of older citizens evaluated robotic assistance more favorably. In general, these results highlight increasing reservations towards autonomous robotic systems in Europe.
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