There is a reason robots, both in the movies and in real life, are always made of gleaming white material, and that reason is racism.
According to a recent study by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand called, aptly, “Robots and Racism,” test subjects preferred their humanoid robots white and treated black robots as a threat, reports The Next Web:
“The study’s findings were based on a shooter bias test, in which participants were asked to perceive threat level based on a split-second image of various black and white people, with robots occasionally popping up — it found that black robots that posed no threat were shot more than white ones.”
Dr. Christoph Bartneck, leader of the study, believes that the bias against black robots could only stem from existing prejudices and argues for robot diversity: “‘Human shaped robots should represent the diversity of humans, it would be weird if all robots in Africa were white.’ Bartneck argued that the creators behind robots are diverse but still, they seem to think robots should be white.” Though, honestly, that assessment seems like the least horrifying implication of this study.
The Next Web article also mentions another study that found test subjects prefer robots with “male” voices when issuing authoritative statements, but would rather a “female” voice when they need help. Well, don’t we just all-encompassingly suck. Alexa, could you be a doll and get me some Excedrin?