A group of scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany found that People’s emotions may be manipulation by a robot. In an article published on the PLOS ONE website, scientists described the experiments that were carried out with volunteer people interacting with robots and the conclusions they came to.
Back in 2007, a group of scientists conducted an experiment called “Pleading computer does not want to die.” Volunteers were offered to turn off the robot cat, but they did not know what to do when the cat begged them not to turn it off. In a new study, this experiment was repeated using more volunteers and another robot.
Don’t turn me off, please
The new study involved 89 volunteers who were invited to interact with the Nao robot, helping it become smarter. After the interaction, the researcher asked the volunteer to turn off the robot, but the robot asked not to. In addition to voice requests, the robot also expressed its request with gestures. Some volunteers served as controls – they were asked to turn off the robot, but the robot was silent.
In the end, 43 volunteers thought about whether to satisfy the request of the researcher or the robot. 13 of them chose to fulfill the robot’s wish, and everyone else wavered, turning off the robot, unlike the control group. Scientists show that humans have such a strong tendency to anthropomorphize robots that they can fall victim to emotional manipulation. It was also found that the type and duration of communication before the request to turn off the robot did not affect the decision made by volunteers.
After the experiment, many volunteers, answering questions, said that they refused to turn off the robot simply because he asked. Others reported that they regretted the robot or were worried that they were doing something wrong.