A new study has shown that people quickly become convinced that a humanoid robot is able to think with independent emotions.
This happens when the robot appears to be acting according to its own beliefs and desires, rather than what it is programmed to do.
Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology examined the reaction of study participants to an anthropomorphic robot named iCub.
Participants completed a questionnaire before and after interacting with the iCub, which was programmed to act like a robot or more friendly.
It was found that those who were exposed to a robot programmed to act like a human were more likely to rate the robot’s actions as intentional.
The connection between anthropomorphism and human-like behavior, as well as the tendency to attribute independent thinking and deliberate behavior to robots, has yet to be explored, says lead researcher Dr. Agnieszka Wikoska.
As artificial intelligence becomes more and more a part of our lives, it is important to understand how interacting with a robot that exhibits human-like behavior can increase the likelihood that the robot is attributable to the intended action.
The team ran three experiments on 119 participants to test their reactions to the iCub robot.
They were asked to choose whether the robot’s motivation in each situation was mechanical or intentional.
For example, participants viewed three images of a robot selecting a tool and then chose whether the robot “grabbed the nearest object” or “was fascinated by the tool.”
In the first two experiments, the researchers remotely controlled the behavior of the iCub so that it would act collectively when meeting participants.
He greeted them by introducing himself and asking their names, and the cameras in the robot’s eyes could also recognize the participants’ faces and maintain eye contact.
Participants then watched three short documentary videos of a robot programmed to respond to the video with sounds and facial expressions of sadness, fear, or happiness.
In the third experiment, the iCub was programmed to act like a machine when interacting with participants and watching videos.
The cameras in the robot’s eyes were disabled so it could not maintain eye contact and only spoke to the participants in recorded sentences about the calibration process it was going through.
She replaced all the emotional reactions to the commercials with a “beep” and repetitive movements of the torso, head and neck.
Participants who watched videos of a humanoid robot were found to be more likely to rate the robot’s actions as intentional.
These results, published in the Journal of Technology, Mind, and Behavior show that people are more likely to believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is capable of independent thinking when it appears that it can act like a human.
Source: Daily Mail