Children ‘at risk of robot influence,’ research study suggests

“Forget peer pressure, future generations are more likely to be influenced by robots, a study suggests,” BBC News reports. “The research, conducted at the University of Plymouth, found that while adults were not swayed by robots, children were.”

“The fact that children tended to trust robots without question raised ethical issues as the machines became more pervasive, said researchers,” The Beeb reports. “They called for the robotics community to build in safeguards for children.”

“Professor of robotics, Tony Belpaeme, who led the research, said: ‘People often follow the opinions of others and we’ve known for a long time that it is hard to resist taking over views and opinions of people around us. We know this as conformity. But as robots will soon be found in the home and the workplace, we were wondering if people would conform to robots,'” The Beeb reports. “‘What our results show is that adults do not conform to what the robots are saying. But when we did the experiment with children, they did. It shows children can perhaps have more of an affinity with robots than adults, which does pose the question: what if robots were to suggest, for example, what products to buy or what to think?'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This reminds us of one of our favorite childhood books, The Runaway Robot by Lester Del Rey .


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