Robots Can Peer Pressure Children into Bad Decisions

Published by , August 20, 2018 1:29 pm

(PopularMechanics) Social robots can convince children to make bad decisions– too (though adult subjects remained immune), according to a new study by Bielefeld University researcher Anna-Lisa Vollmer published in the journal Science Robotics. This reinforces the idea of humans treating computers and robots as social beings, “attributing human-like qualities to technology.”
Researchers discovered that for adults, volunteers’ accuracy dropped when in a room with human confederates, while the robot confederates didn’t seem to make a difference. When they repeated the experiment with children between seven to nine years old, however, the children were heavily influenced by the robots. In fact, 74 percent of the time children gave the wrong answer, they gave the same answer as the robot, word for word. When the robots gave the right answers, the kids did too.

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