Android manipulators? (Topic)

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Android manipulators?


A recent study published in the online magazine PLOS One hints that humanoid robots can manipulate human senses.

In particular, it is assumed that it will be difficult for a person to turn off a robot that asks not to do it. The study was conducted by a group of social psychologists from the German University of Duisburg-Essen with the assistance of a technical expert from the Rhine-Westphalian University of Aachen and was titled "Can a robot's social skills prevent it from turning off?"

89 volunteers took part in the experiment. The essence of the research centered around the social and functional interactions between humans and androids. The participants were asked to perform a certain set of tasks with the robot, after which it was supposed to turn off the machine using the power button. In 43 sessions, the robot was programmed to ask the person not to turn him off.

In some cases, the speech of the androids expressed fear and contained the hope that the person would not press the button. Participants in the experiment who witnessed how the robot objects to the shutdown experienced great confusion. The decision to turn off the robot took them twice as long as those to whom the machine did not make such requests. 13 people refused to press the button. When asked why they made this decision, subjects talked about compassion and free will. They emphasized that the robot itself did not want to be disabled. Some of the study participants stated that they wanted to continue communicating with the machine or were afraid to do "something wrong." Surprise at the robot's behavior was another reason why some subjects did not turn it off.

The researchers were not too surprised by the results, since the experiment was intended to support the theory that in some cases people tend to endow inanimate objects with the qualities of living beings. Those who interacted with the robot physically expressed more indecision than those who only had verbal communication. However, despite this, physical interaction with the android made it less attractive to the human eye and subsequently reduced the stress associated with having to turn it off.

Psychologists speculate that most of the volunteers' reactions are the result of a sudden manifestation of the android's emotions. With that said, they also emphasize that most of the participants in the experiment were students, and therefore further research is needed before a definitive conclusion can be made about the characteristics of the relationship between humans and robots.

The Topic of Article: Android manipulators?.
Author: Jake Pinkman