Now this is a rather startling study – it looks like people are now more willing to follow a robot in the event of an emergency, never mind that said robot is leading them down the wrong path. 30 subjects sat through an experiment that was carried out at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. It looked like close to everyone decided to follow the robot which was going the wrong way, away from the actual exit.
Paul Robinette, the graduate student behind this study, shared, “We were surprised. We thought that there wouldn’t be enough trust, and that we’d have to do something to prove the robot was trustworthy.” Perhaps this is because we are so accustomed to navigational apps like Waze and Google Maps, that we expect these computers to route the best map for us, never mind that some GPS instructions have led its users to some really weird places, like a grandma’s house.
Out of the 30 participants, 26 of them decided to follow the robot during the emergency, ditching their common sense along the way. The remaining four saw two thrown out of the study for unrelated reasons, while another two remained in the room. I guess there are times when we should trust our instincts, and aren’t exit points there for an obvious purpose – to show us that there is a way to escape in an emergency?