Study suggests robots can make friends with humans


Researchers Tony Prescott and Julie Robillard published a scientific article suggesting that robots and humans can be good friends. The study, which reviewed other research, was published in Cell Press, an aggregator of scientific journals.

In an article published on Tuesday (15), Tony explained to laymen the conclusion of his work. According to him and colleague Julie, an important part of recent literature suggests that “robots can be surprisingly good companions”.

The academic exemplifies by saying that artificial intelligences are already being used to create interactions with other people, help improve social skills and increase self-esteem.

Prescott recalls, however, that examples we have today are still far from imagined by fictions. He mentions that even complex technologies like the Sophia robot, created by Hanson, still base their answers based on a programmed library. He still remembers Siri and Alexa to comment that the road to a true friendship is still long.

Despite the path ahead, the researcher mentions that the film “Frank and the Robot”, from 2012, shows a scenario that we are getting closer and closer to. In production, the protagonist receives help from a domestic robot to perform domestic tasks such as cleaning, cooking and remembering to take the medicine.

Risks and Considerations

Even pointing to a future where humans and machines can be friends, Prescott makes important considerations on the subject. “Our article also discussed some potential risks. They arise particularly in environments where interaction with a robot can replace interaction with people, or where people do not have the choice to interact with a person or a robot – in a caring environment, for example, ”he says.

The academic also argues that the field of robotics still mentions that the abandonment of human friends by robots is another potential risk. However, he points out that all of these are possibilities and not inevitability.

Another point that Prescott comments a lot is the idealization of friendship itself. He argues that much of the public imagination about “true friendship” is based on Aristotle’s philosophical premise. In this sense, an ideal friendship is made up of “mutual will, admiration and shared values”.


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