Researchers at Yale and Cornell Universities have examined how robots can influence human groups dynamics, proving that robots are capable of improving collaboration among humans.

It has long been established that human behaviour is influenced by other people in the groups, but how robots influence social dynamics is still under researched.

In their experiment, researchers split 153 participants in three groups to play collaborative games with three types of robots: silent, neutral, and “vulnerable”. The third robot was programmed to tell jokes, share personal stories and admit mistakes to appear vulnerable to humans.

In the article “Vulnerable robots positively shape human conversational dynamics in a human–robot team” published in the PNAS on March 9, researchers shared that experiment has shown that robot’s social behavior is capable of shaping human-human interaction.

Another finding suggests that  “people in groups with a robot making vulnerable statements converse substantially more with each other, distribute their conversation somewhat more equally, and perceive their groups more positively compared to control groups with a robot that either makes neutral statements or no statements at the end of each round”, shared scientists.

In fact, it proves that robotic solutions can be useful in positively modifying human collaboration, and therefore “may improve human welfare”, contrary to the view that technologies mostly damage human interactions, shared researchers:

“Our work illustrates the idea that, in hybrid systems of humans and machines, robots could help people work better together”

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