This is a very interesting experiment aimed at testing the boundaries of human social bonding – with machines. These aren’t just any machines, but ones that exhibit rudimentary levels of social behavior. The resulting emotional connection affects our behavior in ways that we are just starting to understand. Watch the video and read Daniel Estrada’s highlights from the article. Fascinating stuff.
Please direct comments onto the orignal post, as Daniel follows this stuff more closely than I do.
Originally shared by Daniel Estrada
Switching off a robot
> What the study demonstrated was that people do in fact obey the rule of reciprocity when it comes to computers. When the first computer was helpful to people, they helped it way more on the boring task than the other computer in the room. They reciprocated.
> “The relationship is profoundly social,” he says. “The human brain is built so that when given the slightest hint that something is even vaguely social, or vaguely human — in this case, it was just answering questions; it didn’t have a face on the screen, it didn’t have a voice — but given the slightest hint of humanness, people will respond with an enormous array of social responses including, in this case, reciprocating and retaliating.”
> So what happens when a machine begs for its life — explicitly addressing us as if it were a social being?
> “People started to have dialogues with the robot about this,” Bartneck says, “Saying, ‘No! I really have to do it now, I’m sorry! But it has to be done!’ But then they still wouldn’t do it.”
> There they sat, in front of a machine no more soulful than a hair dryer, a machine they knew intellectually was just a collection of electrical pulses and metal, and yet they paused.
> And while eventually every participant killed the robot, it took them time to intellectually override their emotional queasiness — in the case of a helpful cat robot, around 35 seconds before they were able to complete the switching-off procedure.
// This reminds me of another very similar experiment at Wash U in St Louis with a robot named Robovie. I posted about Robovie last summer:
via Lally Gartel
#robots #autonomy #emotion #obsolescence