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Kill the sweet robot?

SwitchOffTheRobot.jpgThe scene from the movie “2001 ? A Space Odyssey“, in which the astronaut Dave Bowman switches the HAL9000 computer off is a landmark in popular culture….

This study analyses if a robot?s intelligence and its agreeableness influences its perceived animacy. The robot?s animacy was measured, amongst other measurements, by the users? hesitation to switch it off. The results show that participants hesitated three times as long to switch off an agreeable and intelligent robot as compared to a non agreeable and unintelligent robot.

So write Christoph Bartneck, Michel van der Hoek, Omar Mubin and Abdullah Al Mahmud in their study “‘Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer Do!’ — Switching Off a Robot” [Proceedings of the 2nd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Washington DC pp. 217-22 (2007),

They produced a short video of the moment of truth.

In a related study called “To Kill a Mockingbird Robot“, they write:

We attempted to see if users perceive ‘smart’ robots more alive than ‘stupid.’ We used a new method of measuring the users’ destructive behavior, since the ultimate test of determining if something is alive is to kill it. We encountered several problems…

(Thanks to Investigator Missy Cummings for bringing this to our attention.)

Improbable Research