Emotions of people can be manipulated with… robots

A group of scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany found that people can be susceptible to emotional manipulation by the robot. In an article published on the website PLOS ONE, scientists described the experiments that were conducted with people-volunteers, interacting with robots, and the conclusions to which they came.

In 2007 a group of scientists conducted an experiment called “Pleading the computer doesn’t want to die.” Volunteers offered to disable robot cat, but they didn’t know what to do when the cat begged for them not to turn it off. In the new study, this experiment was repeated using more volunteers and another robot.

Don’t unplug me, please

In the new study involved 89 volunteers, who were asked to interact with the Nao robot, helping him become smarter. After the interaction, the researcher asked a volunteer to turn off the robot, but the robot asked not to do so. In addition to voice queries the robot is also expressed by gestures your request. Some volunteers served as the control and asked them to disable the robot, but the robot was silent.

In the end, 43 volunteers think about how to satisfy the request of the researcher, or robot. 13 of them chose to fulfill the wish of the robot, and all the others ranged off the robot, in contrast to the control group. Data scientists show that people have so strong a tendency to anthropomorphisize robots that they can become a victim of emotional manipulation. It was also found that the type and duration of communication prior to the request to turn off the robot did not affect the decision taken by the volunteers.

After the experiment, many of the volunteers, answering questions, expressed that he refused to turn off the robot just because he asked. Others reported that regretted or worried you’re doing something wrong.

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