Why do find it hard to torture robots? Article & image via The Guardian
At the SxSW (South By Southwest) Festival in Austin, Texas there are a lot of robots this year! The one in the photo is called DAR-1 and it’s creator has it setting up in a ‘petting zoo’ where people can interact with it. It moves back if you get too close because the camera inside notices when your face looks bigger and it tells the computer to react. It also vibrates which makes it look like it’s shivering. Even thought it is just a Raspberry Pi computer and some mechanical legs, these things make people think of it like it is real and they want to protect it. The article talks about another robot that looks like a dinosaur that a researcher lets people play with. In her research she noticed that people would not hurt the robot even when she tried to trick them. I wonder what it is about our brains that makes us think things are alive when we know they’re not?
Red Hat (Feelings)
I am really excited about the new ways we’re thinking about using robots! I would love to learn more about this and definitely would love to play with one of these. It makes me feel happy and have confidence in people to know that they’re using robotics for good and that people don’t want to hurt things they think would feel it.
Yellow Hat (Positives)
– Robots are awesome!
– People are using robotics to learn more about how we think.
– People would rather not hurt things they think have feelings.
Black Hat (Negatives)
– It’s a bit sad that we’re surprised that human beings can show empathy to you non-humans.
– Up until recently robotics has been really difficult to get into because it is expensive and difficult to learn.
White Hat (Facts/Neutral)
– Robot designers have taken their robots to SxSW Festival
– Robot designers are using their robots to research human behaviour
Green Hat (Creativity/Where to next?)
I think this research will get people excited about how robots can help people. I like the line at the bottom where it talks about instead of making military robots harder to empathize with, we should use human empathy to stop things like wars. I wonder if we could use robots to help teach empathy or to help people in other ways, such as people or children who have been through trauma.
What do you think, would you like to play with a robot? Do you have any other ideas for how we could use robots? Leave your thoughts in the comments!