Earlier this year Georgia Tech tested how people react to robots during emergencies.
The study used 42 volunteers and a robot with two brightly lit arms and the words “Emergency Guide Robot” on it.
The robot made mistakes on purpose, like taking the volunteers into the wrong room. The volunteers did not know this was done on purpose and still trusted the robot.
Part of the test used an auditorium was filled with fake smoke that set off smoke alarms. The robot led the volunteers to an exit in the back of the room, not the clearly lit exit nearer to them.
Paul Robinette, a GTRI research engineer who conducted the study stated:
“Instead, all of the volunteers followed the robot’s instructions, no matter how well it had performed previously. We absolutely didn’t expect this.”
Would you blindly follow a robot in an emergency?