Saturday, November 15, 2008
Would you do whatever a robot told you to do?
Students in the robotics laboratory of Brian Scasselati at Yale performed an experiment that studied the difference between the way a robot's physical presence or its virtual presence affects humans' unconscious perceptions of the robot as a social partner. While subjects were responsive to instructions from the robot Nico in a simple book moving task when the robot was both physically present and when Nico was displayed on a screen, subjects were more likely to throw books into a garbage can at the robots instructions when Nico was present. That subject would follow this instruction from a robot at all is a rather disturbing finding, and one that suggests need for more research. A link for the research paper will be added to this post as soon as it becomes available. The paper is titled, "The effect of presence on human-robot interactions". The authors are Wilma A. Bainbridge, Justin Hart, Elizabeth S. Kim, and Brian Scassellati.