People will treat robots like humans – researchers
University of Canterbury researchers say people perceive robots as humans, not objects, and this indicates how they will deal with robots in the future.
Dr Christoph Bartneck and PhD student Jakub Zlotowski used images of robots in a study on the "inversion effect", which is that human faces or body postures are harder to perceive upside down than upright.
Objects, however, should be identifiable either way.
"What we investigated in our study is whether images of robots can be recognised as humans or objects," Mr Zlotowski says.
"We expected that the more human-looking robots would exhibit stronger inversion effect than machine-like robots.
"Interestingly, we found that despite using images of various robots, they were perceived cognitively more like humans than objects."
This will become more relevant as robots are increasingly used in our everyday lives, Mr Zlotowski says.
"They will be assigned more roles and become a natural part of human working and living space as was the case with other technology like computers and mobile phones."
However, Mr Zlotowski says it will be some decades before we see the "sci-fi" brand of robot, such as Blade Runner or Wall-E.