File this under *no need to re-invent basic social science (or natural science or humanistic scholarship for that matter)*: it turns out that all the grand pronouncements about changes to human socialization are, first, just that, grand pronouncements, and, second, often get the basic social science wrong. In an [article on Medium], Zeynep Tufekci sets the record straight on the matter of primary, or strong, ties and secondary, or weak, ties and their role in how humans negotiate their relationships with other humans.
[article on Medium]: https://medium.com/sonra-oku/c290c8ac23dd
In a recent re-running of the Milgram experiment, a German researcher replaced the human subjects on the other side of the switch with a robot and discovered that humans assigned to switch the robot off have qualms about doing so when the robot, in a sense, pleads for its life. The experiment follows another staged in 1996 where humans interacted with a computer that was either helpful or not. Interesting series of experiments spread across a rather impressive range of years. The focus of the research is on the importance of reciprocity in human psychology. The NPR write-up suggests that the scientists conclude that reciprocity is built-in. [Link to NPR report]. [Link to researcher’s website].
[Link to NPR report]: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/01/28/170272582/do-we-treat-our-gadgets-like-they-re-human
[Link to researcher’s website]: http://www.bartneck.de/publications/2007/daisy/index.html