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The Ap­pear­ance of Ro­bots Af­fects Our Per­cep­tion of the Mor­al­ity of Their De­cisions

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The Sonny robot from the movie I, Robot (left), and the iClooney robot.

According to a new study, people consider a choice made by a humanoid robot less ethically sound than the same decision made by a human or a robot with a more traditional appearance.

Credit: Twentieth Century Fox, Palomki et al. 2018

A study recently completed under the Moralities of Intelligent Machines project found the appearance of robots influences humans' perception of their decisions' morality.

The researchers determined people felt the choice made by humanoid machines iRobot and iClooney in response to the trolley dilemma was less ethically sound than the same choice when made by a human and a robot with a traditional robot-like appearance.

The University of Helsinki's Michael Laakasuo said, "Humanness in artificial intelligence [AI] is perceived as eerie or creepy, and attitudes towards such robots are more negative than towards more machine-like robots. This may be due to, for example, the difficulty of reacting to a humanoid being: is it an animal, a human, or a tool?"

From University of Helsinki (Finland)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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