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Robot Racism? Yes, Says Study Showing Humans' Biases Extend to Robots

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The Sophia robot was modeled on British actress Audrey Hepburn.

A study by researchers at New Zealand's Human Interface Technology (HIT) Laboratory suggests people ascribe racial characteristics to humanoid robots.

Credit: CNN

The results of a study conducted by researchers at the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Laboratory in New Zealand suggests people ascribe racial characteristics to humanoid robots, and apply race-based prejudices to machines.

Black and white colors were found to prompt social cues that influence humans' response to and behavior toward other humans, as well as robots.

The HIT Lab's Christoph Bartneck said, "The bias against black robots is a result of bias against African-Americans."

The study said addressing this bias is critical to ensuring robots designed to serve as caregivers, teachers, and other vital social instruments, can function without hindrance.

In an experiment using lighter brown robots, the HIT Lab researchers found greater racial diversity apparently eliminated participants' racial bias.

From CNN
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