Dr. Daniel Shank

Assistant Professor

Specialization:

Social psychology, technology, groups, artificial intelligence

Research Interests:

What causes people to perceive real-world artificial intelligences (AIs) or their behavior as moral and what causes people to perceive them to have mind? When and why do people unplug smart home hubs such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa?

Resume/CV:

Research Opportunities

RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES

1. Morality and Mind Perceptions of Artificial Intelligence in Social Interaction

What causes people to perceive real-world artificial intelligences (AIs) or their behavior as moral and what causes people to perceive them to have mind? This research addresses this question by documenting what real-world situations occur with AIs and how people perceive and interpret them, both through open-ended surveys on people’s experiences and experiments which present real-world events of AIs with moral outcomes. Additional studies using a backgammon AI player/advisor/teammate are also being planned. Multiple branches of this project investigate (1) people’s perceptions of real-world moral violations by AIs, (2) how people blame and attribute mind to AIs based on the complexity, training history, habitual patterns, communication, and presentation of the AI’s algorithms, and (3) how much people blame the AI vs. the human when they jointly make a decision.

2. Unplugged: Understanding Antiadoption of Google Home and Amazon Alexa

When and why do people unplug smart home hubs such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa? Preliminary evidence shows that those who have adopted these technologies may “antiadopt” them in response to events which show their risk and when this risk outweighs the potential benefits. This research addresses this emerging area by surveying and interviewing smart home hub owners that have antiadopted regarding the events that led to this, perceived benefits and risks, and mind and morality perceptions of the smart home technology.

More Information about Being Dr. Shank’s Research Assistant

Duties: Research assistants will primarily be involved in conducting background literature searches, running experiments, coding qualitative data, developing the stimuli, and developing experiments.  Advanced research assistants may be involved in analyzing results, writing up findings, and presenting findings at conferences.

Volunteering and Pay: For unpaid position: may join project as volunteer for 10 hours per week or as fulfillment of Psych 5000/4099 (Special Problems) with requirements to be negotiated with project lead. For paid position: Undergraduate hourly rate is $8.00/hour for approximately 10 hours per week; graduate rate is approximately $1607 per month for 15 hours/week and includes a tuition waiver. Generally, paid positions are only offered after a period of unpaid work demonstrating abilities or based on previous research experience. Paid positions are also contingent on available funding.

Start Date: Research assistant positions may start anytime, but work the best at the beginning of a new semester.

Location: Most work can be done remotely with the exception of on-campus experiments.

Contact: If interested please send resume\CV and short indication of why one is interested to Dr. Shank at shankd@mst.edu.