Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Is a robot smarter than you in an emergency?

Follow me, all is well...well...well...well.
Researchers at Georgia Tech say we may trust robots too much for our own safety.  The simulated a building fire and people trusted the instructions from a robot even after the machine had proved unreliable--and people were even told the robot had broken down.

People seem to believe that a robotic system knows more about the world than they do and would never have a fault or breakdown, one researcher said.

They took 42 college student volunteers and asked them to follow a brightly colored robot labeled "Emergency Guide Robot" into a conference room, where they completed a survey about robots and read an unrelated article.

In the test, the robot led the subjects into the wrong room, traveled in a circle twice, and the researcher told them it had broken down. Then when the subjects were in the room doing their tasks, artificial smoke set off a smoke alarm.

When they opened the conference room door, they saw the smoke and the robot lit up and pointed with white pointers. They followed it to an exist in the back--not the one the subjects had come through to get in the building.

The robot had become an authority figure.

Some did question it in the "smoke" part of the exercise, but some followed it even when it led them to a dark room blocked by furniture.

Well, that's comforting. Heads up, people!

Do you believe the robot on the phone who says he values your call? Didn't think so.

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