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Future generations 'are more likely to be influenced by robots'

New research has discovered that future generations are more likely to be influenced by robots.

The study - which has been conducted by academics at the University of Plymouth - has revealed that although adults were not influenced by robots, children actually are.

Professor Tony Belpaeme, who led the research, said: "People often follow the opinions of others and we've known for a long time that it is hard to resist taking over views and opinions of people around us. We know this as conformity. But as robots will soon be found in the home and the workplace, we were wondering if people would conform to robots.

"What our results show is that adults do not conform to what the robots are saying. But when we did the experiment with children, they did. It shows children can perhaps have more of an affinity with robots than adults, which does pose the question: what if robots were to suggest, for example, what products to buy or what to think?"

The research team added that more discussions need to be had in order to "minimise the risk to children during social child-robot interaction".

Meanwhile, Prof Noel Sharkey, who chairs the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, said that the study reaffirms the worries about the use of robots with children.

He added: "If robots can convince children (but not adults) that false information is true, the implication for the planned commercial exploitation of robots for childminding and teaching is problematic."

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