Humans Might Welcome The New Robot Overlords: An Obedience Study

human robot interaction

How would it feel working under a ‘robo boss’, constantly pecking on top of the head, reminding the amount of work that is still left. Many would feel frustrated and might leave but there would be some, who might like to finish the task without questioning.

In an interesting experiment, performed by the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, revealed the responses that were received by working under a robotic supervisor.

Task that was assigned to humans was extremely monotonous which of course became boring as the time continued. Target was to note how the human clerks responded to the first 80 minutes. Jim, the Nao humanoid robot was made their manager who was prodding verbally and responding to their queries. The experimenters who were in the adjacent room controlled Jim.

Although the tone of Jim’s voice was neutral and was gazing around the room only to increase sense of intelligence yet some subjugated to its commands, while others participants argued about the task but followed the commands naturally.

The experiment proved that the bot had an authoritative social presence with 46% participants completing their assigned tasks even after arguing with the machine. Although they were reluctant, even then they obeyed the commands, hinting that a machine’s continuous pecking might actually propel people in doing a specific task.

This study proves that people do not completely disobey commands from an autonomous robot even when they are told that there would be no consequences of refusing to comply. This clearly indicates there are some fractions of people who have completely no problems while subjugating to a robotic boss. Although this research is not enough to prove the perception but it surely gives a slight insight into the possibility of what we might expect in the near future.

Source: Discover Magazine

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