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People May Trust Computers More Than Humans


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A woman having a chat with a robot.

New research from data scientists at the University of Georgia found that despite increasing concern over the intrusion of algorithms in daily life, people may be more willing to trust a computer program than their fellow humans.

Credit: iStock

New research by data scientists at the University of Georgia (UGA) indicates that people may be more willing to trust computer programs than fellow humans, especially for tasks that become too difficult.

The researchers asked 1,500 volunteers to count the number of people in photos of a crowd, then provided suggestions from other people and from an algorithm.

UGA's Aaron Schecter said as the number of people depicted in the photos grew, volunteers became more likely to follow the algorithm's suggestion rather than count themselves, or follow the "wisdom of the crowd."

Said Ph.D. student Eric Bogert, “It seems like there’s a bias towards leaning more heavily on algorithms as a task gets harder and that effect is stronger than the bias towards relying on advice from other people.”

From UGA Today
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