Episode 67: "Robots Have Emotions Too"

In our research, we showed how a simple, small robot could pressure people to continue a highly tedious task—even after the people expressed repeated desire to quit—simply with verbal prodding.
— Dr. James E. Young, "How to Manage Robots and People Working Together"
Research has shown people feel less comfortable around robots who break social norms, such as by having shifty eyes or mismatched facial expressions. A robot’s personality, voice pitch or even the use of whispering can affect feelings of trust and comfort.
— Dr. James E. Young, "How to Manage Robots and People Working Together"

This week we analyze and respond to an article written by Dr. James E. Young.  He and fellow researchers conducted studies to determine the current sentiments human beings have towards robots. Their research indicates that people have an inherent impulse to personalize robots and imbue them with intentions, emotions, social abilities and attachments. He theorizes that in future, steps should be taken to facilitate productive, prosperous working relationships between people and robots in a variety of settings, including combat and other dangerous environments. We use this article as an entry point to discussions about humanity as it relates to robotics and how robots may substantially affect our lives in the future.

Episode 31: Violence in Video Games

One of the problems in this field is that people confuse aggression and violence. Some research will call sort of a competitiveness-type aggression as equivalent to violence in the real world. There is absolutely no evidence that any video game or violent movie for that matter has ever caused a real-world violent act.
— Cheryl Olson, Harvard Medical School
No one is suggesting that [violent video games are] the only reason they went out and committed those horrific acts, but was it a tipping point? Was it something that pushed them over the edge? Was it a factor in that? Perhaps. That’s a really big deal.
— Jim Steyer, Common Sense Media.

Often a source of criticism and concern, we wanted to discuss how violence in video games affects our opinions of their entertainment value. We also examine violence as it relates to American culture, what we are willing to tolerate or embrace and actions we do not tend to code as "violent" in nature.