Canterbury University study into robot mistreatment reveals key to better programming

Source: 1News

A new study has found people have just as strong a reaction to a robot being abused as a human.

It comes as robots are becoming an increasing part of our daily lives -  Canterbury University researchers have been looking into how humans react to them being bullied.

Merel Keijsers, a Canterbury University PHD student has been studying robots for three years and says her reaction was the same as over a hundred people surveyed around the world.

They were shown 16 clips of violence and abuse towards a human and a robot filmed by Corridor Digital, by Canterbury University.

“I think around the point where they smash a bottle on the robot's head, I was like "sorry - this doesn't look scientific anymore.

"It does make me slightly uneasy which is funny, I know I should know better,” Ms Kerijsers said.

The majority were just as disturbed by the violent treatment of the robot as they are of a human.

Associate professor, Christoph Bartneck, of Canterbury University says human computer interaction “when you think about it from a rational persepective doesn't make sense” because the robot doesn't even know what bullying is - it has no pain, it has no dignity no feelings, he says.

However with robots becoming more and more common in society, the researchers hope the findings can help with the way that they're programmed to deal with abuse.

They say introducing robots is about more than simply making life easier.

“We need to prepare these robots to be able to act appropriately so if you get abused what do you do? What is the best strategy for a robot to escape?” Mr Bartneck says.