Dogs feel Okay about Robots

19 Sep

Turns out, dogs like robots – if we let they know they’re okay. This is according to a new study from Germany that set out to test how animals would react to robotic helpers. To do this, the researchers put the dogs in a room with a human and a robot, watched, and waited.

As their study concludes, it turns out that the dogs mostly take their cues from us.

If the humans acted like the machines were, well, machines – ignoring it, typing on its keyboard, etc – the dogs weren’t that interested in the robot. Even if it started making noises or using one of it’s insanely creepy mechanical claw-hands to try to point at various dog treats hidden in the room. But if the person acted friendly towards it – talked to it, shook it’s (creepy, fake, monstrous) hand – the dog was much more keen on it. The dogs spent much more time around “friendly” robots and were better at finding hidden food.

These were not good-looking machines, by the way. The dogs were definitely not working off sight. Imagine the front bit of a treadmill on wheels if you taped hospital gloves to it and gave it sentience. And, while the robot was never as successful as a human along was, the researches did show that there was a clear difference.

I’m not sure what the application of this technology is, but it’s pretty cool to think about. Maybe it’s just practice for when robots take over the world. After all, just because we’re all either dead or subjugated doesn’t mean our pets should have to suffer.

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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Modernity


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