The robots they have created follow verbal instructions such as ‘stand up’ and ‘sit down’ from a human operator.

However, when they are asked to walk into an obstacle or off the end of a table, for example, the robots politely decline to do so.

When asked to walk forward on a table, the robots refuse to budge, telling their creator: ‘Sorry, I cannot do this as there is no support ahead.’

Upon a second command to walk forward, the robot replies: ‘But, it is unsafe.’