We all have out trust issues when it comes to certain things that define our everyday lives. However, we are taught to leave everything behind in case of emergencies. According to a new study performed by Georgia Tech, human trust even faulty robots in an emergency situation.
It is tough to play it cool while being under stress. As we mentioned before, we all got some trust issues, but in the case of a real-life emergency, it is best to put it all behind. People have looked up to authoritarian figures since the dawn of time for guidance and have continued to do so, even though the character’s belief might conflict with their moral fabric.
With the robotics industry booming, an experiment involving the interaction between man and machine was, perhaps, inevitable. To see how people will react to stressful situations, a team of researchers at Georgia Tech have devised a curious experiment which involved a fire drill and a faulty emergency robot.
No less than 42 volunteers enrolled in this new experiment. The goal of this trial was to determine how an individual would react if a safety droid were to let him astray in the case of an emergency.
And this is how the experiment started. The team used fake smoke to trick the volunteers into believing that there was an actual fire. When the fire alarm went off, the emergency droids sprung to life.
During the experiment, the volunteers had two choices: either to follow the emergency robot or their gut feeling. To make the trial spicier, the team also instrumented several droid malfunctions. The test was easy: follow the droid from an office to a conference room.
According to Paul Robinette, one of the scientists involved in this study, approximately 26 people chose to follow the emergency robot, even though he led them into the wrong room. And to make things more interesting, all the fire exits were marked according to the law.
Still, many chose to follow the droid in this bogus emergency situation, even though they’ve realized that the droid led them to a dead end.
After the first test, a second one was set up. The scenario remained the same: a fake fire, a fire alarm, and everyone had to leave the building. Only this time, all the participants were locked in a dark room, with tons of furniture obstructing their path. Like before, the participants could either follow the robot or rely on themselves.
The results pointed out that two members decided to follow the robot to safety while two remained inside the dark room instead of reaching for the emergency fire exit.
At the end of the experiment, Robinette pointed out that people are far too trusting when it comes to robots, especially robots designed to intervene in an emergency situation. The researcher also said that a previous experiment involving an unmarked droid returned conflicting results.
So, people would trust an original emergency droid rather than an unmarked one.
The conclusion of the study was that humans trust even faulty robots in an emergency situation. Robinette’s advice is to stop relying so much on technology and to start using your gut feeling and your brain for a change.