Empathy Machine: Humans Communicate Better after Robots Show Their Vulnerable Side

Scientific American shared this interesting research about human interactions with robots based on what stories are shared or “emotions” are displayed.

The researchers monitored how group members’ communication differed depending on which type of robot was on each team. They found that people working with robots that showed vulnerability spent more time talking with their fellow humans than did those in the control groups. Subjects with vulnerable robots also divided their conversation more equally between each human member of the team. These participants later reported that they perceived their experience as more positive, compared with those in the control groups. “We believe the robot’s vulnerable utterances helped the group to feel more comfortable in a task that was designed to have a high level of tension,” Sebo says. “As a result, people talked more and more over time and viewed the entire interaction more favorably.”

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