Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Humans Trust This Emergency Robot more than Common Sense

Getting people to trust robots is as big a deal for the future of technology as building them. But, it turns out, acquiring that trust might not be that difficult. Test subjects at the Georgia Institute of Technology willingly followed an emergency robot to safety during a simulated fire, even when it led them away from clearly marked exit signs, New Scientist reports. The findings even surprised Paul Robinette, the graduate student in charge of the study: "We thought that there wouldn't be enough trust, and that we'd have to do something to prove the robot was trustworthy."

30 subjects started out the test by following the robot, a customized Pioneer P3-AT, down a hallway and into a room, where they were asked to fill out a survey. Eventually, a smoke alarm went off and simulated smoke filled the hall. The robot would then lead them through the smoke down a new path, and towards a doorthey've never seen before. All the while, the subjects could have easily exited through the clearly marked path they originally came through. 26 of the test subjects ended up following therobot, while two never left the room (the other two were kicked out of the study).

Humans trust this emergency robot more than common sense
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