Would You Switch Off A Robot If It Begged Not To Be?

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).

, , , , , ,

  • LucidDreamR

    Matt or Jacob: My apologies for posting this here; but I had no luck using the contact section. Just stumbled on this and thought it might be a good response to the article posted by Majestic on the 22nd entitled “Unlocking the Conspiracy Mindset”. No offense taken if not worthy of submission! Been a regular to the site for at least ten years, keep up the great work!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/#

    • Matt Staggs

      Hey, hit me up at matt@disinfo.com and I’ll set you up with a contributor account, if you like.

  • Anarchy Pony

    You are to switch it off. Switch it off with extreme prejudice.

  • Calypso_1

    Considering some of the first functional androids will no doubt be sexbots this may be a deviancy accounted for in the design process.

  • echar

    This makes me think of a movie I watched recently called Robot and Frank. It’s quite good, anyhow they tackle many issues in the film, including anthropomorphising robots and programming.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jZlSfsE730

  • jnana

    I remember when I was about 4 yrs old thinking tinsel from a Xmas tree “liked” me. It was the way it clung to me. Those were magical times in my life. I rarely ever get to experience the universe as so ALIVE anymore.

    “The men and women around me, even speaking with me, were but Figures. I had practically forgotten they were alive, that they were not merely automota… To me the universe was all devoid of Life, of Purpose, of Volition, even of Hostility; it was one huge, dead, immeasurable steam engine, rolling on in its dead indifference, to grind me limb from limb.”

    “All is significant but negatively, so that every event is utterly pointless, every object intensely unreal, every self styled human being, a clockwork dummy, grotesquely going through the motions of work and play, of loving, hating, thinking, of being eloquent, heroic, saintly, what you will- the robots are nothing if versatile”

    100 Bonus points for anyone who knows where that’s from and by whom.

    • Calypso_1

      I found the tinsel story a true delight. Thank you so very much.

      As to the other…..

      “Little knowest thou of the burning of a World-Phoenix, who fanciest that she must first burn out, and lie as a dead cinereous heap; and therefrom the young one start up by miracle, and fly heavenward. Far otherwise! In that Fire-whirlwind, Creation and Destruction proceed together; ever as the ashes of the Old are blown about, do organic filaments of the New mysteriously spin themselves: and amid the rushing and the waving of the Whirlwind element come tones of a melodious Death-song, which end not but in tones of a more melodious Birth-song. Nay, look into the Fire-whirlwind with thy own eyes, and thou wilt see.”

      • jnana

        I’m gonna guess that’s Emerson or maybe another American Transcendentalist.

      • jnana

        I’m gonna guess that’s Emerson or maybe another American Transcendentalist.

        • Calypso_1

          I think you need to look to Thomas Carlyle for the reading I presented and to whom Huxley, in your first passage, quoted.

          And he sir is most through & through a Scotsman.

        • Calypso_1

          I think you need to look to Thomas Carlyle for the reading I presented and to whom Huxley, in your first passage, quoted.

          And he sir is most through & through a Scotsman.

    • jnana

      from Aldous Huxley’s Heaven and Hell.

  • BuzzCoastin

    maybe death-row inmates could try this experiment
    “Please Mr. Executioner, could I live a few more seconds?”
    I bet they get at least 60 seconds extra life

21
More in Artificial Intelligence, Emotions, Empathy, experiments, Robotics, Robots
Researchers Give Lab Rats A ‘Sixth Sense’

In the near future, people could be augmented with the ability to feel magnetic fields, radio waves, or infrared light, reports the BBC: US researchers have effectively given laboratory rats...

Close