Check out the above video — researchers working out of the University of Manitoba’s Human Computer Interaction Lab have completed a study suggesting that people are actually more likely to take orders from robots than one might think, reports Phys.org.
The experiment was run with both humans and robots issuing the orders. Participants in the experiment were asked to complete a number of tasks ranging from fun and silly (sometimes they were asked to sing a song) to totally awful and tedious (like manually changing file extensions for a very large number of files).
46% of volunteers followed the robot’s instruction, whereas 86% followed the human boss’ instruction. The researchers acknowledge the “lower percentage, but also point out that nearly half of those who participated complied when asked to do something they didn’t want to do, when asked by a robot.” Simply put: even if you don’t want to do something, there’s half a chance you’ll do it if the request comes from a robot.
Despite the fact that the robot was being manually operated by a human observing everything behind one-way glass, “most” of the participants thought it was behaving autonomously. They interacted with it on a more personal level:
[M]any of the volunteers argued with the robot, and interacted with it as if it were human … [Researchers] also found that some of the volunteers even tried bartering, either with themselves or the robot, by requesting another task or by suggesting out loud that perhaps the robot was malfunctioning.