Don't Be Scared, It's Only a Robot

By Lyons, Dan | Newsweek, December 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Don't Be Scared, It's Only a Robot


Lyons, Dan, Newsweek


Byline: Dan Lyons

Scientists study human-robot interactions to make us more simpatico with our automated friends.

A few months ago, scientists at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., invited a few ordinary people into their labs and gave them an assignment: they were to teach a robot called PR2 how to map out a room by leading it around and showing it the walls and obstacles. Thing is, the Willow Garage scientists were not studying the robots. They were studying the people. A woman in her 40s walked slowly and gave her robot a thumbs-up sign and said, "Good job!" when it did something correctly. A guy in his 30s started marching because he apparently believed this would make it easier for the robot to perceive his movements. The lesson: "People were forming all kinds of beliefs about what would help the robots do the task, and were quite willing to modify their behaviors to help the robots," says Leila Taka-yama, the scientist who oversees these experiments at Willow Garage.

Takayama is one of about 300 researchers worldwide who make up the tiny but burgeoning field known as human-robot interaction. These folks study the way people respond to robots in various situations, with the hope of making the machines less intimidating. Of course, these days most robots are industrial devices that assemble gadgets. But the age of personal robots is approaching. In a decade or two these mechanical helpers could be doing chores in our homes, but only if people like Takayama can find ways to alleviate our fear of robots, which in decades of sci-fi movies have been depicted more often as foes than as friends. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Don't Be Scared, It's Only a Robot
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.