Study suggests dogs react more readily to robots that show interactive social behavior
Designers of social robots, take note. Bring your dog to the lab next time you test a prototype, and watch how your pet interacts with it. You might just learn a thing or two that could help you fine-tune future designs. So says Gabriella Lakatos of the Hungarian Academy of Science and Eötvös Loránd University, lead author of a study¹published in Springer’s journal Animal Cognition that found that man’s best friend reacts sociably to robots that behave socially towards them, even if the devices look nothing like a human.
This animal behavior study tested the reaction of 41 dogs. They were divided into two groups depending on the nature of human-robot interaction: ‘asocial’ or ‘social.’One set of dogs in the ‘asocial group’ first observed an interaction between two humans (the owner and the human experimenter) and then observed an ‘asocial’ interaction between the owner and the robot. The remaining dogs in this group participated in these interactions in the reverse order.
Then, in the ‘social group,’ one set of dogs watched an interaction between the owner and the human experimenter followed by observing a ‘social’ interaction between the owner and the robot. The remaining dogs in this group also participated in these interactions in the reverse order. These interactions were followed by sessions in which either the human experimenter or the robot pointed out the location of hidden food in both the ‘asocial’ and the ‘social’ groups.
A customized human-sized PeopleBot² with two arms and four-fingered hands were used. One of its robotic arms makes simple gestures and grasps objects. The PeopleBot does not resemble a human, but looks rather like a piece of gym equipment with a white gloved hand attached to it.
It was programmed to either perform socially enriched human-like conduct (such as calling a dog by its name) or to behave rather machine-like and in an asocial manner. The human experimenter used in tandem with the robot could only do moves similar to the device’s capabilities, and was therefore only allowed to use one hand to make specific gestures.
The level of sociality shown by the robot was not enough to elicit the same set of social behavioral reactions from the dogs that they normally display in their close relationship with humans. However, the researchers recorded definite positive social interactions between the animals and the robot. For instance, the dogs spent more time near the robot or gazing at its head when the PeopleBot behaved socially.
Furthermore, it was quite difficult for the dogs to find the hidden food when a robot pointed it out to them. However, further analysis of this result showed that the dogs were far better at finding the loot when a socially behaving robot pointed it out to them. The researchers believe that the dogs’ previous experience with the robot, while watching their owners interact with the PeopleBot, may have also influenced their attitude towards it when they confronted it during the pointing phase.
The Latest on: Social robots
- Out of the Way, Human! Delivery Robots Want a Share of Your Sidewalk on February 19, 2019 at 3:56 am
Still, one video shows a delivery robot being temporarily stranded after kids covered its cameras and sensors with snow. Another cautionary tale comes from the Canadian hitchBOT social experiment, in ... […]
- Evaluating robots as teachers or partners in language learning exercises on February 19, 2019 at 3:37 am
Wik and another researcher involved in the study have also co-founded a company called Furhat Robotics, specialized in social robotics R&D. "Social robotics is a broader research area where advances t... […]
- Chinese schoolgirl shamed for using robot to write homework - Now everybody wants one on February 19, 2019 at 2:52 am
A case of a schoolgirl in China buying a so-called copying robot to write her homework has caused many social media users to leap to her defence and fuelled growing interest in the machines. It was re... […]
- Waldo-Hunting A.I. Robot Solves One of Life's Greatest Mysteries on February 18, 2019 at 10:14 am
A machine designed to find a children’s book character is causing a stir on social media. “There’s Waldo” is a robot that uses computer vision to locate the beanie-clad chap in the “Where’s Waldo” ser... […]
- Fake News by Robots? Axios Uses AI Program to Write ‘Not True’ Story in Experiment on February 17, 2019 at 10:39 pm
Also Read: Axios Co-Founder Calls on Media to Ban Most Social Media Use by Reporters The story itself ... Back in 2014, the Los Angles Times made headlines after revealing that a robot was used to wri... […]
- In The Future, Robots will Make Great Politicians. on February 17, 2019 at 10:06 pm
Robots may well become part of everyday life ... Every politician these days has a social media army. They propagate all the good things done by him, provide the latest updates on his next plans ... […]
- Could a robot hold down a desk job? on February 16, 2019 at 3:30 am
It creates a kind of social bond that can be very important at work, utilizing a behavior that robots such as my colleague's cannot emulate. That robots can "do backflips" is an impressive feat. […]
- Killer robots quake in face of China's social credit system on February 13, 2019 at 11:24 am
Forget killer robots and future war. There is a bigger and more likely machine threat, already at large – with strange commonalities between how it looks in countries as diverse as Australia and China ... […]
- How Does A M'sian Social Enterprise Get Robots And AI Onto Its Food Truck Fleet? on February 12, 2019 at 6:50 pm
We catch up with Masala Wheels to talk about their growth as a social enterprise, their latest equity partnership with KCOM Group, and the development of social entrepreneurship in Malaysia. The last ... […]
- Robots are becoming classroom tutors. But will they make the grade? on February 12, 2019 at 3:06 am
This kind of tight connection is typical of child-robot interactions, says MIT social robotics and human-robot interaction researcher Cynthia Breazeal. Her team is investigating how this turn-taking r... […]
via Google News and Bing News