Will robots too show some manners?  

New York, Sep 22 (IANS) Even as the possibility of robots replacing peacekeeping personnel in highly tense civilian encounters grow, a new research has revealed that people expect such robots to be gentle and polite while engaging with humans.

“Interactions between machines and people should follow rules of behaviour similar to the rules used in human-to-human interaction,” said study coauthor Joachim Meyer, professor at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

“Robots are not seen as mindless technology; rather, they are considered agents with intentions,” Meyer noted.

The researchers asked 30 participants to report first impressions of a humanoid peacekeeping robot interacting with individuals using varying levels of politeness.

The scenario they evaluated depicted the robot in charge of inspecting people who were trying to enter a building.

Results indicated that participants’ attitude toward the robot was largely influenced by whether they perceived it to be polite or threatening.

Neither the age nor gender of the person interacting with the robot was found to have a significant impact on participants’ impressions.

Accepted social etiquette suggests participants might prefer a “gentler, more polite” approach toward the elderly and women and would therefore judge the robot more harshly in interactions with that population, the study noted.

The research will be presented at the 2015 annual meeting of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in Los Angeles in October.

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