Robot Behavior

Dave versus HAL 9000

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Science  20 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6472, pp. 1468-1469
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6472.1468-f

HAL 9000, a nonanthropomorphic robot in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey

PHOTO: SPORTSPHOTO/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Cooperation between people depends on a willingness to establish common ground. Zanatto et al. asked how the basic rules of human cooperation apply when the other entity is a robot that has as much decision-making range as a human (like HAL 9000 in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey). In a money-investment game in which cooperativity enhanced gain, just as between two humans, the human-robot pair rewarded cooperativity and punished selfishness. But the human response was tuned according to whether the game was more or less successful than expected and whether the robot was more anthropomorphic or more machinelike. In a benign setting, the machinelike robot elicited more cooperation from the human game players. In a less rewarding setting, the more anthropomorphic robot elicited more cooperation from the human. The authors speculate that in the more hostile environment, people draw more on social attributes to develop cooperation.

PLOS ONE 14, e0225028 (2019).

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