A team of German researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany studied how humans interact with robots. In a paper published in PLOS ONE – they offered the finding that people who were asked to turn a robot off were more likely to leave it on if the robot pleaded with them to “live.” The conclusion of the study was that the more human a machine acts, the more we can be emotionally manipulated into treating it as we might treat a fellow human. In the future this tendency for us to humanize machines will both help us adjust to their presence, and make us vulnerable to be manipulated by them far too easily.
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Rohit Bhargava is a trend curator, founder of the Non-Obvious Company, and the author of six best selling business books including the Wall Street Journal best seller Non-Obvious.