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Public Perception of Advanced Army Robots: More Blameworthy for Civilian Deaths

Public Perception of Advanced Army Robots: More Blameworthy for Civilian Deaths

High-tech killer robots, also known as advanced military bots, are increasingly held accountable for civilian deaths, according to new research. This points to a shift in public perception towards advanced artificial intelligence within the military sector and its associated responsibilities.

The research, conducted at the University of Essex and led by Dr. Rael Dawtry from the Department of Psychology, reveals that these autonomous robots are held accountable for fatalities under identical circumstances more often than military machines. The study indicates that public views robots as more culpable if they are described in a more advanced context.

The hope is that results from this study will help to inform future legislation as science and technology continue to progress at an impressive pace. As robots become increasingly sophisticated and their range of tasks expand, humans’ direct involvement in their operations decreases. This raises the question of how and where responsibility should be assigned when harm is caused by these autonomous robots.

The study aims to contribute to law and policy debates by offering insights into how a broad cross-section of people perceive harmful behaviour by robots. Comparing this to how blame is assigned to humans provides crucial evidence that indicates the same cognitive processes are at play.

The paper details an experiment in which various scenarios were presented to over 400 participants. In one such scenario, the participants were asked to judge whether an armed humanoid robot was responsible for the death of a teenage girl. The robot had "discharged" its machine guns during a raid on a terror compound, fatally injuring the civilian. The robot was perceived as more blameworthy when described in advanced terms, even though the outcome remained the same in each case.

A related study showed that people tend to hold a variety of devices more accountable when they are described as 'autonomous robots', compared to when they are labeled 'machines'. This subtle perception has vital implications for the rapidly evolving field of robotics. As robots become more sophisticated, they are likely to be held more accountable for their actions.

Dr. Dawtry concluded by stating that the findings show that perception of a robot's autonomy and consequential blame is influenced, very subtly, by how it is described. As we progress further into the age of high-tech autonomous robots, it is important to remember that perception can be just as impactful as objective sophistication and advancement.

Disclaimer: The above article was written with the assistance of AI. The original sources can be found on ScienceDaily.