The secret to robots with better social skills? Exploiting human nature. Maggie Koerth-Baker, science editor of BoingBoing.net, explores “how [designers can make] robots trick you in loving them” for the New York Times Magazine.
“In the future, more robots will occupy that strange gray zone: doing not only jobs that humans can do but also jobs that require social grace. In the last decade, an interdisciplinary field of research called Human-Robot Interaction has arisen to study the factors that make robots work well with humans, and how humans view their robotic counterparts. […]
H.R.I. researchers have discovered some rather surprising things: a robotâ€™s behavior can have a bigger impact on its relationship with humans than its design; many of the rules that govern human relationships apply equally well to human-robot relations; and people will read emotions and motivations into a robotâ€™s behavior that far exceed the robotâ€™s capabilities. As we employ those lessons to build robots that can be better caretakers, maids and emergency responders, we risk further blurring the (once unnecessary) line between tools and beings.”