This may only interest me....
In case you didn't already know, I'm a bit of a geek. Ok, well, I'm a huge geek. I've had a computer in front of me in some form or fashion pretty much since I can remember. As a result, I'm fascinated with human interaction with anything artificial, if it's a computer or a robot. I wanted to buy an AIBO for the longest time (until Sony discontinued it) simply because I wanted to play with the AI built into the machine.
One of the biggest challenges besides mobility in creating robots that will become a part of everyday life is human interaction with the machine; will we as sentient beings treat a machine that is simply programmed to act sentient the same as we would another human?
According to at least this study, we will. What the researches did was placed a robot programmed to behave similar to a human into a daycare center to study how the children reacted to the robot. While at first they treated it as a normal toy, in the latter sessions they began to treat it more as a peer. When the reprogrammed the robot to act more predictable or robot like, that interaction decreased dramatically.
I'm not sure exactly what this study indicates. Does this indicate that we as humans can accept something that is designed to act as a human? Or are toddlers, whose perception of reality is still being formed, willing to accept anything that interacts with them? It's a great question, and personally I find it fascinating.
(Discovered via SciGuy's blog)