Robots are already with us—how we treat them tells us a lot about ourselves, here's why

By Dr. Kate Darling

Years ago, someone asked me for advice on a workplace situation. His company was using an internal chatbot to help new employees, and he had repeatedly noticed one person being disproportionally verbally abusive to the chatbot.

“What do you think?” he asked me, “Is this an HR issue?” The truth is, we don’t know. Even though machines can’t feel, it’s worth thinking about what human behaviour is ok.

Over the next decade, our relationships to our devices will become a lot more interesting. Advanced chatbots and robot companions are on the rise, both are extremely well-suited to tap into our social nature and make us behave as though we’re interacting with something…alive.

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