Almost human: do you have feelings of human machine relationship?

Are you familiar with the psychological thought “experiment with trolley”? It was first formulated in 1967 by British philosopher Philippa Foot, but later received several different interpretations. The classical concept of the experiment is to search for the answer to the following question: “Heavy unmanageable trolley hurtles down the tracks. On the way it are five people tied to the tracks by the mad philosopher. Fortunately, you can toggle the arrow — and then the truck goes on another siding. Unfortunately, the siding is one person, also tied to the rails”. Anyway, the result of your choice Hello to death, will die either one person or a group of five. What are your actions?

In various versions of the “trolley Problems” are considered different combinations of potential victims. One is the selection of a group of criminals and one innocent person, the other is invited to make a choice in favor of a healthy person and a group of seriously ill patients, the third on one scale it is proposed to put the life of the great surgeon and the other child. A lot of options, but they all revolve around the human ability to make rational decisions moral properties.

In the new study a team of scientists from the Dutch University of Nijmegen and the University of Munich Ludwig-Maximilians (Germany) decided to conduct a similar “experiment with the trolley”, but this time the participants were asked to make a choice between a human and a humanoid robot. The results were very interesting. In certain circumstances people were willing to save the robot, sacrificing human life. Their findings are published in the journal Social Cognition.

Modern robots are used in many areas. It’s not just about production. They begin to use at home, in shops, in hospitals, in hotels as assistants. With the development of robotics and artificial intelligence, these machines are becoming more and more “smart”. Often robots are used to perform very complex and even dangerous task. For example, a modern army use machines to search for explosive devices and mine. It is observed that a person is able to attached to the car. The higher this attachment is, the higher can be the emotional response in the case of robot destruction.

“In military practice are known cases when the military is literally mourned the compartment of the robot. They even organized the funeral,” — says study leader Sari Nissen from a Dutch University of Nijmegen.

Researchers have set a goal to understand how deeply can extend human empathy to the machines and what moral principles can influence our behavior in relation to these machines, especially considering the fact that modern robots are becoming more and more anthropomorphic. According to Nissen, studies designed to examine this question to date, little extreme.

The Central question a new study was: under what circumstances and to what extent people would be willing to donate a robot to save a human life. Scientists invited to participate in the experiment, a group of volunteers. The participants were placed before a moral dilemma: to save one individual or several. At the same time people were asked to choose first between an anthropomorphic robot and normal, not like a man, then between man and the usual robot, and then between humans and anthropomorphic robot.

The study showed that the more the robot was attributed to “humanity”, the more difficult was the choice for the participants. Of course, when one way was a normal car, and another person or humanoid robot, the choice of participants in the experiment were simple and obvious. But it got complicated when, before the man was faced with a choice between a humanoid robot and a human, people began to doubt longer, the researchers note. When the experiment participants were presented a robot a being with consciousness, their own thoughts, experiences, feelings and emotions, people are less likely to was was ready to give him up in favor of saving a completely unfamiliar person.

“The more “human” perceived the robot — or rather, the more emotion was attributed to the car, the less the participants of our experiment agreed to donate,” explains one of the authors Marcus Polus.

Researchers have been quite concerned about these results. In their opinion, if people begin to “humanize” machines, then it will deprive us of the opportunity to use them for the purpose that they originally created. In order not to face such situation in the future when machines will do most similar to humans, the study authors propose to develop the concept of the limits of the maximum allowable amount “invested” in the robot human traits.

“These results show that study participants are attributed a moral status to the robot. Attempts to humanize the robots should not go too far. Otherwise, they create conflict with their original mission – helping people,” says Polus.

Premature panic

So if the actual question of the humanization of robots and the implications this humanization right now? Far are we from a tipping point where the distinction between humans and humanoid robots will be so blurred that to answer the question about who is in front of you – machine or human – will be problematic? What are the real consequences await us?

“Even if this happens, then not earlier than in many decades, says project Manager and Director of digital technology, the developer of the robot-recruiter TalentTech Azat Shamsutdinov. – During this time, public perception may change dramatically. It is not excluded that due to evolution, we won’t stand right in front of the wording “human or robot”. It is likely that there will be new categories of assessment,” — said the expert.

“All this is certainly not about the realities of today, because the artificial intelligence is just a computational machine that may not even be represented in material form. For Example,, like many other programs with artificial intelligence – represent just the “inside” of the computer. It can neither touch nor see, but she can make some decisions,” adds Shamsutdinov.

According to experts, scary and mystical stories related to artificial intelligence, humanoid robots and the suffering they can bring to our lives, go straight from mass media. At the same time the expert believes that in a hypothetical situation, the choice between machine and human will depend primarily on the sympathy of the choosing for one side or another.

“I believe that in 99% of situations people will be closer to the man. Only if not to take extreme cases, when the choice may be between a humanoid robot and a maniac,” adds Shamsutdinov.

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