Words can hurt, even when they don’t come from another human being. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania took the friendly humanoid robot Pepper and changed his personality to conduct a study on how humans react to the insults of a robot.
40 people participated who played a video game while the robot threw them both discouraging comments and encouraging comments. The negative comments were mildly rude, such as “I have to say that you are a terrible player” or “Your game has become a bit confusing over time.”
The researchers discovered that the results of the games went down when the robot said nasty things.
“This is one of the first studies of the interaction between humans and robots in an environment where there is no cooperation,” he explained. Fei Fang, assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon, and co-author of the study, in a statement.
The study highlights the complexity of human interactions with robots, including company machines such as Pepper. The study was done with a small sample, but Fang is interested in deepening the issue, which could include observing whether people react differently to humanoid robots compared to robots without human similarity.
At least now we know for sure that you will not want to invite Bender, from Futurama to a video game session.