The Morality Of Abusing A Robot

Our paper The Morality Of Abusing A Robot has been published.

We are happy to announce that our paper “The Morality Of Abusing A Robot” has been published under the Creative Commons license at the Paladyn Journal. You can also download the PDF directly.

It is not uncommon for humans to exhibit abusive behaviour towards robots. This study compares how abusive behaviour towards a human is perceived differently in comparison with identical behaviour towards a robot. We showed participants 16 video clips of unparalleled quality that depicted different levels of violence and abuse. For each video, we asked participants to rate the moral acceptability of the action, the violence depicted, the intention to harm, and how abusive the action was. The results indicate no significant difference in the perceived morality of the actions shown in the videos across the two victim agents. When the agents started to fight back, their reactive aggressive behaviour was rated differently. Humans fighting back were seen as less immoral compared with robots fighting back. A mediation analysis showed that this was predominately due to participants perceiving the robot’s response as more abusive than the human’s response.

We created a little video to demonstrate the two main conditions of the experiment, a human or a robot being abused and then fighting back. We would like to acknowledge Jake Watson and Sam Gorski from Corridor Digital who made the stimuli for this experiment available.

PhD Position: The influence of robots on the development of language

The HIT Lab NZ has an opening for a PhD in Human-Robot Interaction entitled: “The influence of robots on the development of language“.

The ‘Wordovators’ project is a three-year project funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The project will conduct large-scale experiments in the form of computerized word games.  These games will be designed to probe the factors underpinning word creation and creativity, and how these develop through the life-span. One strand of the project will probe particular issues surrounding interactions between people and humanoid Robots. How are new words created and adopted in contexts involving such interactions? This PhD position is for a highly motivated student to join the project team, and conduct work that explores the ways that robots might shape human languages. These studies will analyze the factors and processes that might contribute to the influence of robots on the vocabularies of English and of artificial languages in imaginary worlds. Continue reading “PhD Position: The influence of robots on the development of language”