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Robotic Tortoise Helps Kids to Learn That Robot Abuse Is a Bad Thing


The robo-tortoise.

A robotic tortoise named Shelly was designed to teach children that they shouldnt abuse robots.

Credit: Naver Labs

Researchers from Naver Labs, the Korean Advanced Institute for Science and Technology, and Seoul National University in South Korea demonstrated how they used a tortoise-shaped robot to teach children not to abuse robots at the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI) in Chicago, IL.

When smacked, the robot hides within its shell, a response designed to reduce or eliminate aggressive behaviors.

Results revealed that the robot's hiding method significantly cut down on children's abusive behavior, relative to how they acted when the robot did not hide at all.

The researchers determined abuse increased when they reduced the hiding length from 14 seconds to seven, because the hiding behavior itself was seen as a reward. A longer hiding period of 28 seconds caused the children to become bored and leave.

Also intriguing was the finding that part of the experiment's effectiveness stems from the fact that in groups, children will mutually restrain inappropriate behaviors.

From IEEE Spectrum
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