Well, this is somewhat depressing news for our fate as a species. By the time the robot uprising does finally come about, robots won’t even need to fight us for supremacy. They’ll just tell us not to resist, and we will.
That’s because a new study found that people listen to robots no matter what. No matter what. Robot tells you to jump off a cliff? You will jump off that fucking cliff.
Even if you are smart. The discovery was made by researchers at Georgia Tech, where they found “people may trust robots too much for their own safety.”
From the university’s release on the study:
In a mock building fire, test subjects followed instructions from an “Emergency Guide Robot” even after the machine had proven itself unreliable – and after some participants were told that robot had broken down.
We even trust broken robots. Broken robots. So when a well functioning one comes along? Shit.
The research was designed to determine whether or not building occupants would trust a robot designed to help them evacuate a high-rise in case of fire or other emergency. But the researchers were surprised to find that the test subjects followed the robot’s instructions – even when the machine’s behavior should not have inspired trust.
That’s because we reflexively view robots as authority figures. Which we, uhhh, shouldn’t.
“People seem to believe that these robotic systems know more about the world than they really do, and that they would never make mistakes or have any kind of fault,” said Alan Wagner, a senior research engineer in the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). “In our studies, test subjects followed the robot’s directions even to the point where it might have put them in danger had this been a real emergency.”
Basically, robots don’t even have to try to dominate our species.
See you guys in the slave mines!