Recently I had the opportunity to present about robots and emotion. This was a topic I’ve talked about before, and wrote about in my PhD thesis. Some of the ideas also came through in Robots and Communication, but as I prepared for The Future of Emotions conference I realised that quite a few of my thought had never really appeared in any of my publications. There were lots of new robots (and ideas) to be included, of course, and I had a great time giving this talk.
For once, I remembered to record my talk, so I’ve decided to upload it here, along with my notes as a form of transcript (because I did stick to my notes on this occasion). I’ve also included a list of links below the recording, so that you can locate the websites for the robots I discuss. I’ve not put up my slides, because there were some images that I only used under Fair Dealing for Research and Study, so don’t want to publish on the public web. However, by visiting the websites you’ll get to see the robots and bots in detail.
Websites for the robots that I discuss (in the order they appear):
It’s always a bit of a gift when an international conference takes place just down the road. (At least, that’s what I think, as someone who doesn’t really enjoy travelling to attend conferences that much although I always have a great time once I’m there). The University of Western Australia is where I studied for my PhD. It has a beautiful campus, which I admit I skived in order to explore in the beautiful sunshine (and, yes, winter in Western Australia is like this quite a lot of the time).
Please let me know if you have any problems accessing the recording or the notes through a comment or an email. This is the first time I’ve put up a talk in this way, so it’s an experiment.
As promised here is my video presentation for Robo-philosophy 2014. This is based on a full length paper that I have written for a special issue of the International Journal of Social Robotics. The special issue should be published sometime in, or possibly before, early 2015.
In this paper, I re-evaluate what constitutes a social robot by employing a range of communication theories, alongside ideas of anthropomorphism and zoomorphism, to analyse how different forms of robot are interpreted as socially aware and communicative. A critical assessment of the development of humanlike and animal-like robotic companions is juxtaposed with a consideration of human relations with machine-like robots in working partnerships.
Although some traditions of communication theory offer perspectives that support the development of humanlike and animal-like social robots, these perspectives have been criticised by communication scholars as unethically closed to the possibilities of otherness and difference. However, an analysis of human relations with Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robots and with AUR, the robotic desk lamp, demonstrates that machine-like robots are interpreted by humans as social and communicative others. This interpretation is supported by processes of tempered anthropomorphism and/or zoomorphism, which allow people to communicate with machine-like robots while also ensuring that a sense of the otherness of the machine and respect for its non-human abilities is retained.
Slideshare have decided to remove the slidecast functionality from their service, so I have been looking for a new home for my talk about human-robot teams, and sending robots into dangerous situations. I think I’ve found an alternative now, but I just realised that sharing the link on Twitter doesn’t work, since the site wants people to sign up (or sign in) in order to view the presentation. Here is an embedded version, which I hope anyone will be able to view:
This isn’t one of my best talks, which is irritating given that it’s the one I have recorded and been able to share in this way, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do something similar in the future with other presentations.
Last Sunday (24 November) was Curtin University’s RoboFair, an annual event where anyone who is interested can visit and find out more about robots and robotic engineering. I was invited to be a part of the event this year as a representative of the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin. There were lots of stands with interesting robots, a whole heap of interactive displays for children and adults to enjoy. In some ways the most exciting thing for me was my poster (sad, I know)! This is the first time I’ve ever had a poster describing the types of humanities perspectives that I work with in relation to robots and communication:
I also decided to try to run a survey during the event, but this didn’t quite work out as planned… ie I didn’t really get anyone to complete the survey (except for about four people for whom I entered the answers myself). Note to self: don’t expect people wandering round an open-day style event to scan QR codes or go to (even shortened) web addresses unless there’s a prize on offer!
However, in spite of this failure I did get to talk to a lot of great people, and certainly got the overall sense that many are interested in the relationship between technology and human culture/society to the extent that they would be like to attend seminars/workshops to think about and discuss the topic. I’m pretty sure that no-one I spoke to had ever heard the word MOOC though.
I did have a very brief wander around the rest of RoboFair, and I met a very interesting artist, Nathan Thompson, with a “robo-guitar briefcase” (yes, that’s how he describes it). I’d link to his website, but I think it’s having a few technical problems at the moment; however, assuming I catch up with Nathan and his robo-guitar again I’ll write a post about this analogue-based device, which has toured Japan recently and I’m hoping will perform in Perth sometime soon.
In this blog's profile image I appear with Keepon, Sparki and Chris Lynas' depiction of a drone from Iain M. Banks' Culture.
The photographs of Keepon and Sparki are my own and the drone image appears courtesy of Chris Lynas.