What Happens When Robots Punish? Evaluating Human Task Performance during Robot-Initiated Punishment

Himavath Jois, Alan R. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines how people respond to robot-administered verbal and physical punishments. Human participants were tasked with sorting colored chips under time pressure and were punished by a robot when they made mistakes, such as inaccurate sorting or sorting too slowly. Participants were either punished verbally by being told to stop sorting for a fixed time, or physically, by restraining their ability to sort with an in-house crafted robotic exoskeleton. Either a human experimenter or the robot exoskeleton administered punishments, with participant task performance and subjective perceptions of their interaction with the robot recorded. The results indicate that participants made more mistakes on the task when under the threat of robot-administered punishment. Participants also tended to comply with robot-administered punishments at a lesser rate than human-administered punishments, which suggests that humans may not afford a robot the social authority to administer punishments. This study also contributes to our understanding of compliance with a robot and whether people accept a robot's authority to punish. The results may influence the design of robots placed in authoritative roles and promote discussion of the ethical ramifications of robot-administered punishment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3472207
JournalACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Artificial Intelligence

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