Robot Abuse - A Limitation of the Media Equation
Robots become increasingly important in our society, but their social role remains unclear. The Media Equation states that people treat computers as social actors, and is likely to apply to robots. This study investigates the limitations of the Media Equation in human-robot interaction by focusing on robot abuse. Milgram’s experiment on obedience was reproduced using a robot in the role of the student. All participants went through up to the highest voltage setting, compared to only 40% in Milgram’s original study. It can be concluded that people have less concerns to abuse robots than to abuse other humans. This result indicates a limitation of the Media Equation.