How risk-averse are humans when interacting with robots?

Topics within the research needed to navigate a digital grocery retailer. Credit: University of California San Diego

How do folks wish to work together with robots when navigating a crowded surroundings? And what algorithms ought to roboticists use to program robots to work together with people?

These are the questions {that a} group of mechanical engineers and laptop scientists on the University of California San Diego sought to reply in a research introduced just lately on the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2024 in Japan.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating robots that infer human perception of risk for intelligent decision-making in everyday settings,” stated Aamodh Suresh, first creator of the research, who earned his Ph.D. within the analysis group of Professor Sonia Martinez Diaz within the UC San Diego Division of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He’s now a postdoctoral researcher for the U.S. Military Research Lab.

“We wanted to create a framework that would help us understand how risk-averse humans are–or not–when interacting with robots,” stated Angelique Taylor, second creator of the research, who earned her Ph.D. within the Division of Pc Science and Engineering at UC San Diego within the analysis group of Professor Laurel Riek. Taylor is now on college at Cornell Tech in New York.

The group turned to fashions from behavioral economics. However they needed to know which of them to make use of. The research happened throughout the pandemic, so the researchers needed to design a web-based experiment to get their reply.

Topics—largely STEM undergraduate and graduate college students—performed a recreation, by which they acted as Instacart customers. They’d a alternative between three completely different paths to succeed in the milk aisle in a grocery retailer. Every path might take wherever from 5 to twenty minutes. Some paths would take them close to folks with COVID, together with one with a extreme case.

The paths additionally had completely different danger ranges for getting coughed on by somebody with COVID. The shortest path put topics in touch with essentially the most sick folks. However the customers have been rewarded for reaching their objective rapidly.

The researchers have been shocked to see that individuals constantly underestimated of their survey solutions indicating their willingness to take dangers of being in shut proximity to customers contaminated with COVID-19. “If there is a reward in it, people don’t mind taking risks,” stated Suresh.

Consequently, to program robots to work together with people, researchers determined to depend on prospect principle, a behavioral economics mannequin developed by Daniel Kahneman, who gained the Nobel Prize in economics for his work in 2002. The speculation holds that individuals weigh losses and beneficial properties in contrast to some extent of reference.

On this framework, folks really feel losses greater than they really feel beneficial properties. So, for instance, folks will select to get $450 quite than betting on one thing that has a 50% probability of profitable them $1100. So, topics within the research centered on getting the reward for finishing the duty rapidly, which was sure, as an alternative of weighing the potential danger of contracting COVID.

Researchers additionally requested folks how they want robots to speak their intentions. The responses included speech, gestures, and contact screens.

Subsequent, researchers hope to conduct an in-person research with a extra various group of topics.

The findings are published on the arXiv preprint server.

Extra data:
Aamodh Suresh et al, Robotic Navigation in Dangerous, Crowded Environments: Understanding Human Preferences, arXiv (2023). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2303.08284

Journal data:

How risk-averse are people when interacting with robots? (2024, July 11)
retrieved 11 July 2024

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