Almost human: does the sentient machine deserve a human relationship?

You are familiar with the psychological mental "experimentwith trolley "? It was first formulated in 1967 by the English philosopher Philip Foote, but later received several other interpretations. The classic concept of the experiment is to find the answer to the following question: “Heavy uncontrolled trolley is carried along the rails. On its way there are five people tied to the rails by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you can switch the arrow - and then the trolley will go on a different, siding. Unfortunately, on the siding is one person, also tied to the rails. ” Anyway, the result of your choice is hello to death - either one person or a group of five will die. What are your actions?

In various versions of "Problems trolley"Different combinations of potential victims are considered. In one, there is a choice from the group of criminals and one completely innocent person, in the other it is proposed to make a choice in favor of a healthy person and a group of seriously ill patients, in the third it is proposed to put the life of the great surgeon on one side of the scale and the child on the other. There are a lot of options, but they all revolve around a person’s ability to make rational decisions of moral character.

During the new research team of scientists fromthe Netherlands University of Nijmegen and the University of Munich Ludwig-Maximilians (Germany) decided to conduct a similar “experiment with the trolley”, but this time its participants were asked to choose between a human and a humanoid robot. The results were very interesting. Under certain circumstances, people were ready to save the robot by sacrificing human life. Scientists have published their findings in the journal Social Cognition.

Modern robots are used in many areas. It is not only about production. They are beginning to be used at home, in shops, in hospitals, in hotels as assistants. With the development of robotics and artificial intelligence, these machines are becoming more and more “clever”. Often, robots are used to perform very complex and even dangerous tasks. For example, modern armies use machines to search for explosives and mine. As observations show, a person is able to become attached to a car. And the higher this attachment, the higher the emotional response can be in the case of the destruction of the robot.

"In military practice, there are cases whenthe military literally mourned the robot that had been bombed. A funeral was even organized for them, ”commented study leader Sari Nayssen from the Netherlands University of Nijmegen.

Researchers have set themselves the taskunderstand how deeply human empathy can spread to machines and what moral principles can influence our behavior in relation to these machines, especially since modern robots are becoming more and more anthropomorphic. According to Nysen, research aimed at studying this issue to date, very little.

The central question of the new study wasin the following: under what circumstances and to what degree will people be willing to sacrifice a robot to save a human life? Scientists invited a group of volunteers to take part in the experiment. Participants were faced with a moral dilemma: save one or more individuals. At the same time, people were asked to choose first between an anthropomorphic robot and an ordinary, not like human, then between a human and an ordinary robot, and then between a human and anthropomorphic robot.

The study showed that the more the robotattributed to "humanity", the more difficult it became the choice for participants. Of course, in a situation where a normal car was on one path and a human being or a humanoid robot on another path, the choice of participants in the experiment was simple and obvious. But everything became more complicated when, before a man, he faced a choice between a humanoid robot and a man - people began to doubt longer, the researchers note. When the participants in the experiment represented a robot as a creature with consciousness, their own thoughts, experiences, experiences and emotions, then people were less likely to be willing to sacrifice it in favor of saving a completely unfamiliar person.

"The more" human "the robot was perceived - andmore precisely, the more emotionally attributed to the car, the less often the participants in our experiment agreed to donate them, ”explains one of the authors, Marcus Paulus.

Researchers turned out to be quite concernedsuch results. According to them, if people begin to “humanize” machines, this will make it impossible for us to use them for the purpose that they were originally created for. In order not to encounter such a situation in the future, when the machines become truly as close to people as possible, the authors of the study suggest developing a concept framework for the maximum allowable number of human traits “invested” in a robot.

“These results show that participantsstudies attributed a certain moral status to the robot. Attempts to humanize robots should not go too far. Otherwise, they create a conflict with their original task - helping people, ”summarizes Paulus.

Premature panic

Is the question of the humanization of robots andthe consequences of this humanization right now? Are we far from the turning point when the line between humans and humanoid robots will be so blurred that it will be problematic to answer the question of who is in front of you - a car or a man? What are the real consequences of all this awaiting us?

“Even if this happens, it’s not earlier thanafter many decades, says the project manager and digital technology director at, TalentTech robot recruiter Azat Shamsutdinov. - During this time, the opinion of mankind can change dramatically. It is possible that due to evolution, we will not be faced with just such a phrase “man or robot”. It is likely that new categories of evaluation will appear, ”the expert believes.

"All this is definitely not about the realities of today,because artificial intelligence is just a computing machine that may not even be represented in the material form. For example,, like many other programs with artificial intelligence, is simply a program “inside” a computer. It can neither be touched nor seen, but at the same time it can itself make some decisions, ”adds Shamsutdinov.

According to the expert, scary and mysticalstories related to artificial intelligence, human-like robots, and the suffering they can bring to our lives come straight from the media. At the same time, the expert believes that in a hypothetical situation, the choice between the machine and the person will depend primarily on the sympathy of the one who chooses one side or the other.

“I believe that in 99% of situations a person will be closer to a person. Only if we do not take extreme cases where the choice can be between a humanoid robot and a maniac, ”adds Shamsutdinov.

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