Will our machines acquire the ability to convince us that they are in fact alive? An unsettling study at the the Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology:
This video shows an experiment in which participants are asked to switch off a robot and thereby killing it. The robot begs for its live and we measured how long the participants hesitated.
The perception of life largely depends on the observation of intelligent behavior. Even abstract geometrical shapes that move on a computer screen are being perceived as being alive… in particular if they change their trajectory nonlinearly or if they seem to interact with their environments.
The robot’s intelligence had a strong effect on the users’ hesitation to switch it off, in particular if the robot acted agreeable. Participants hesitated almost three times as long to switch off an intelligent and agreeable robot (34.5 seconds) compared to an unintelligent and non-agreeable robot (11.8 seconds).