Poll People are more likely to comply with a robot's impassioned pleas to keep it switched on when the droid has previously been impersonal, than when it's been overly friendly. You might think folks would be less willing to pull the plug on a happy chatty bot begging to stay powered up, but you'd be wrong, much to the relief of us cold-hearted cynics. And this is all according to a study recently published in PLOS ONE. For this investigation, psychology academics in Germany rounded up 85 participants – an admittedly small-ish sample – made up of 29 men and 56 women, with an average age of 22. One at a time, they were introduced to a little desktop-sized humanoid robot called Nao, and were told interacting with the bot would improve its algorithms.
Not too long ago, people got creeped out by Amazon's Alexa devices randomly laughing at them. Now Jeff Bezos' digital assistant is offering folks the chance to put a sock in its mouth. Reddit users first noticed that when asked to turn light on, Alexa would complete the task and then append the exchange by saying it'd be the last time it would use a verbal confirmation. Instead, it'd beep upon a task's completion from that point forward, noting that this was a new feature called "Brief Mode" that'd curtail its speech. That was with a first-gen Echo.