In today’s digital world, a research has found that future generations are more likely to be influenced by robots. The research conducted at University of Plymouth, found that children tended to trust robots without robots without question which raised ethical issues as robots and automation become more pervasive.
In the research, children aged seven to nine scored an average of 87% on a test when they were taking it alone in a room. However, when robots joined them, their scores dropped to 75% on average with heavy influence from the robots’ answers.
The findings show how children increasingly yielded to social pressure exerted by a group of robots which prompted the researchers to call for protective measures and safeguards to “minimise the risk to children during social child-robot interaction”.
Professor Noel Sharkey, chairman of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, said that the study “shores up concerns about the use of robots with children”, especially with regards to “the problematic implication for the planned commercial exploitation of robots for childminding and teaching”.
Children are young, vulnerable and naïve – they cannot yet discern what is right or wrong. Thus, my take on this is that robots are a physical embodiment of the digital world, and their influence on children is similar to the programmes and games that children play online. Just as with online games, similar pre-cautionary measures should be taken.
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