Disney experiments look to make kid-robot interactions more natural

Sooner or later, our children will be raised by robots, so it’s natural that Disney, purveyor of both robots and child-related goods, would want to get ahead of that trend. A trio of studies from its Research division aim at understanding and improving how kids converse with and otherwise interact with robots and other reasonably smart machines.

The three studies were executed at once as a whole, with each part documented separately in papers posted today. The kids in the study (about 80 of them) proceeded through a series of short activities generally associated with storytelling and spoken interaction, their progress carefully recorded by the experimenters.

First they were introduced (individually as they took part in the experiment, naturally) to a robot named Piper, which was…

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