Published On: Sun, Mar 6th, 2016

Trust in Robots During Emergencies May Not Be Wise

According to new study in case of fire and other emergency situations Robots are unreliable but still people trust them blindly. Study says that Trust in Robots During Emergencies May Not Be Wise. People may trust a robot too much for their own safety in case of emergency situations but the machine has proven itself unreliable. In a mock building fire, designed to determine whether or not people would trust a robot designed to help them evacuate a high-rise, 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.

Are Robots Trustworthy In Emergency

“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). A group of 42 volunteers (most of them were college students) have been recruited by the researchers.  Researchers asked them to follow a brightly robot that had the words “Emergency Guide Robot” on its side.

Trust in Robots During Emergencies May Not Be Wise

The robot which was controlled by hidden researchers led the volunteers onto the wrong room and travelled around in a circle twice before entering the conference room. The hallway through which the participants had entered the building was filled with artificial smoke, which set off a smoke alarm. After entering the conference room the test subjects saw the smoke and the robot which was then brightly-lit with red LEDs and white “arms” that served as pointers.

Paul Robinette, a GTRI research engineer who conducted the study as part of his doctoral dissertation said that if the robot had proven itself untrustworthy in guiding them to the conference room, people wouldn’t follow it during the simulated emergency.



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