Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania recently turned the friendly humanoid robot Pepper into a stunning Debbie Downer to study how humans react when a robot utters abusive words,media CNET reported.
Forty participants played a video game, while the robot made frustrating or encouraging comments. These negative comments include, for example, “I must say you’re a bad player” or “You’ve become confused while you’re playing.” The researchers found that players’ game scores were affected when the robot uttered unfriendly words.
“This is the first study to conduct human-computer interaction in an environment where robots are not cooperative,” study co-author Fang Fei, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said in a statement Tuesday. “
The study highlights the complexity of human interactions with robots, including companion machines such as pepper. The sample size of the study was small, but Fang Fei was interested in studying the subject more deeply, which could include studying whether people react differently to humanoid robots and non-humanoid robots.