from the world's big
Can we be racist toward robots? New study suggests yes.
Have you ever noticed how almost all robots are racialized as white?
- A recent pair of studies examined peoples' perceptions of robots of different colors.
- The results suggest that seeing robots can activate racial biases in people, in similar ways that seeing real-life people does.
- The researchers said the robotics industry has nothing to lose by increasing the diversity of robots.
If you search Google for images of robots, you'll notice that the vast majority are white. Why?
A new study suggests it's because our racial biases are leaking into the world of robots, which could cause problems as intelligent machines become more common throughout society.
Recently, researchers from the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand explored how race plays into people's interpretations of robots. The team asked participants to take a "shooter bias" test, in which images of white and black people and robots appeared for less than a second on a screen. Some of these people and robots were holding a gun. The participants were instructed to "shoot" any robots or people holding a weapon.
The results showed that participants were more likely to shoot an unarmed robot if it was racialized as black. It seems that seeing an anthropomorphized machine with race triggers biased reactions within people, and that these biases against certain robots are similar the kinds people hold toward other people.
"The bias against black robots is a result of bias against African-Americans," lead researcher Christoph Bartneck told The Next Web. Bartneck elaborated to CNN: "It is amazing to see how people who had no prior interaction with robots show racial bias towards them."
Bartneck et al.
One problem with depicting most robots as white is representation.
"Imagine a world in which all Barbie dolls are white," Bartneck told CNN. "Imagine a world in which all the robots working in Africa or India are white. Further imagine that these robots take over roles that involve authority. Clearly, this would raise concerns about imperialism and white supremacy."
In a second study, researchers wanted to test whether changing the robot's color or level of anthropomorphization would change people's reactions on the shooter test. Interestingly, the participants' racial bias toward the non-white robots disappeared when the researchers increased the diversity of the robots in the study. However, changing the level of anthropomorphization — that is, how human they looked — didn't change the results.
"This leads me to believe that we have everything to win by offering racial options and nothing to lose," Bartneck told CNN. "In the same way that we do want Barbie dolls in all colors and shapes, we also want robots in more than just white."
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.