New study finds it’s harder to turn off a robot when it’s begging for its life


A Nao robot; the same model used by the researchers in their experiment. Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images Robots designed to interact socially with humans are slowly becoming more and more common. They’re appearing as receptionists, tour guides, security guards, and porters. But how good are we at treating these robots as robots? A growing body of evidence suggests not good at all. Studies have repeatedly shown we’re extremely susceptible to social cues coming from machines, and a recent experiment by German researchers demonstrates that people will even refuse to turn a robot off —…

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