Here’s a fascinating Wall Street Journal story on how scientists are trying to make robots more relational. When they succeed, as they’re likely to, people can learn the qualities that “humanize” a robot – like empathy – and pick up on them in their own behavior. Really!
How to make robots more likable? “We identified at least one thing that might help,” write Adam Waytz and Michael Norton, two college professors interested in humanizing robots. “Create robots that seem more like people.” They go on to discuss what “a warmer and fuzzier robot” might look like.
When we succeed with that, we might have people measuring their own performance, or at least likability, against successful robots. That’s because qualities worth emulating will be “front and center."
Sounds a little spooky? Indeed, but hang in there as the decades advance.