Robot abuse is a bummer for the human brain

Good friends: Asimo, seen here meeting German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer, makes everyone feel good. Even when it falls down stairs.

(Credit: Honda)

When they take over, robots will surely take advantage of studies suggesting we pathetic meatsacks are hardwired to sympathize with them.

Watching a robot being cuddled or abused produces similar reactions in humans to watching people undergo the same treatment, according to two new studies to be presented at the International Communication Association Conference in London in June.

In one, subjects were shown videos in which popular dino-bot Pleo was either hugged or treated violently. Perhaps not surprisingly, the subjects’ skin conductance levels rose when Pleo suffered, suggesting they were distressed.

They also reported feeling bad for the bot. Check out how the poor little guy was mistreated in the vid below.


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In the second study, scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)… [Read more]

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