Stay with me on this. See the recent BBC news piece about a Korean baseball team adding in robots to the crowd so it appears the team is followed more than they are? Sure, people have been buying followers for years in the virtual spaces but now it’s physical spaces.
And at the same time we have these scientific studies showing how humans will mimic the facial expressions of robots. Silly humans.
The spontaneous mimicry of others’ emotional facial expressions constitutes a rudimentary form of empathy and facilitates social understanding
This mimicry occurs even though these participants find the android unsettling and are fully aware that it lacks intentionality
Now the study does say when the android is videoed instead of being in person, less mimicry occurs. They can fix that I bet. See the issue here is we mistrust someone as we can read their face and even the best trained PR people do actually find it hard to physically hide their lies despite what comes out of their mouth. But with with robots you can perfectly program the facial expressions and we’ll smile back to the “genuine” smile. A physiological study shows that when people give their driverless cars names, they are more forgiving when the vehicle has an error.
So another oil spill and this time BP whips out the robo-spokesperson who like Johnny-Cab, tells you with a face full of contrition that they are sorry and it wasn’t their fault. Suckers.
And this from a few years ago when two bots argue with each other