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Yale Robotics Lab to Pay $15 Per Day to Adults with Autism Who Participate In Study

Yale roboticsYALE University in New Haven, Connecticut is offering $15 a day for adults with autism to participate in a study for the Robotics Lab. It seems the robots will ultimately assist adults with autism to find jobs. Laudable.

$15 a day for 2 hours of work for 7 days. That's $7.50 an hour. Minimum wage is $12.00 here in Connecticut. Yale's tuition is $55,000+ a year. I wish Dan Olmsted were here to share his thoughts about his alma mater.


Our ready-to-go robot system aims to improve its users’ tolerance to everyday interruptions with efficient and relevant training. Over time, we expect the interruptions will become less disruptive, allowing them to return to their main task more quickly. Our motivation in developing this system is to promote the employability of adults with autism.

Adults diagnosed with autism can declare their interest in participating in this study by completing this short survey: https://yalesurvey.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9vjvlsWauziOQqW

Participating in our study means training during a 2-hour window per day for at least 7 days. We will be paying participants $15 per day of active participation. More details about the study and the training provided by our robot are included in this summary sheet (also attached).

Thank you,

Rebecca Ramnauth 
Yale Social Robotics Lab 
scazlab.yale.edu | rramnauth2220.github.io

Project Details

We’ve developed a robot to provide efficient and relevant training to improve users’ tolerance to interruptions. We expect users will improve their tolerance for work-related interruptions where, with consistent practice, interruptions will become less disruptive, allowing them to return to their original task more quickly.

What are you asking me to do?

If you agree to take part, your participation in this study will involve you engaging in short conversations with a social robot, and some of the discussions may include performing certain tasks. You will also be responding to other types of interruptions initiated by the robot (such as questions or commonplace sounds).

You will be asked to:

Work with the research team to set up the robot system

Specify which days and times you can expect to engage in a training session

Commit to your specified schedule and actively participate in training sessions

Understand that the system records your activities during the training sessions

Inform any other guests or co-residents of the possibility of being recorded during the training sessions Provide feedback on the effectiveness of the robot and training

 Provide feedback on the behavior of the robot

How long will it take?

Your involvement will require approximately 15 minutes for setup and 30 minutes to complete the configuration and survey. You will participate in training sessions within a specified 2 or 3-hour period for at most 5 days per week. There are several studies that range from using the robot between 5 to 90 days.

Participation is completely voluntary. You can choose to participate, or you can choose not to participate in this study. If you start participating in the experiment, you can always change your mind and stop at any time.

Is any compensation provided?

You will be given $15 per day of active participation. Initial payment for your participation will be included in the box containing the robot system. Subsequent payments will be remitted on a 7-day periodic basis by money order, mailed to your residence.




There is no way Kim’s children could provide informed consent to receive 15 bucks/hr for thIs experiment.

My 18 yr old kid, drives himself to Panera Bread where he makes 11 bucks/hr, and could also not provide informed consent for this experiment.

If you are an someone 18yrs or older, and have the ability to consider this experiment, you need to tell me what “subsequent payments will be remitted on a 7-day periodic basis....” Shit, I couldn’t give informed consent?!!


Pavlovian theory pops into my mind.
Treat our kids like dogs, what’s new!


"Who is paying for the study?
Yale University through award #UNIV61108 C-Accel Pilot - Track B1 (AI and Future
Jobs): Empowering Neurodiverse Populations for Employment through Inclusion AI and
Innovation Science sponsored by Vanderbilt University."

It originated at Vanderbilt University:

"Convergence Accelerator Phase I: Empowering Neurodiverse
Populations for Employment through Inclusion AI and Innovation
Institution: Vanderbilt University
Abstract Date: 07/29/19"

Falling on my knees daily, crying out "help us Jesus!" over my child with "autism-like behavior" resulted in him graduating from a top university with a degree in computer science and a job with a top company with a starting salary of $120,000 at the age of 22. BTW, he rejected working in the field of artificial intelligence. Smart kid.

All things are possible with Jesus!

Grace Green

We don't need help finding jobs. What we need is not to be ripped off when we offer our underestimated skills and knowledge!

angus files

Artificial intelligence slithering in via the back door. In the meantime continue vaccinating as we`ve found a paid use for the vaccine carnage.

Pharma For Prison



This seems more cruel than good.

Making highly vulnerable people into lab rats for a big tech product, they might still remain minimally employable - if able to work at all.

I have significant concerns this seemingly good robot will, soon be used as a coercive/forcing device in the autism therapy industry.

It’s extremely sad we have a whole new generation of people who cannot be accommodated by the system. But it’s not the patients faults at all.


I wonder if the reason they’ll give if questioned about this pitiful sum is that if they paid more it would threaten the volunteers rights to benefits. They make no mention of reimbursing travelling expenses either.


They're asking adults to train the robot? To test the robot? When I worked in IT, the folks involved in requirements definition, use case writing, system testing, and user acceptance testing were **on salary.**

If the tech industry is going to sell apps and devices to the autism community, maybe it's time the autism community made some legitimate money as co-developers of the products. When this robot is available, you can bet Yale or whatever Big Tech company buys it is not going to donate one to each person with autism, out of the goodness of their hearts.

Getting paid $15 a day is OK when you're helping a senior with the research project for his thesis, not when you're helping someone build a saleable product.

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