Write new title from this text only without quotation mark HRI Robotics Conference: Acknowledging the strangeness of robots – and dancing with them

HRI Robotics Conference: Acknowledging the strangeness of robots – and dancing with them

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Diversity is a big topic in research on human-robot interaction. The focus is usually on the extent to which robots can help to compensate for or reinforce existing prejudices, social inequalities and opposites. In addition to empirical studies, for example on the importance of the outer shape of the robot, there are also more fundamental theoretical considerations. At the robotics conference HRI (Human-Robot Interaction), the need to make robotics technology as inclusive as possible can hardly be overlooked. Cristina Zaga (University of Twente) presented tools developed by a Dutch research team to help take diversity and inclusion into account early in the development process. Jessica Barfield (University of Tennessee-Knoxville) investigated the extent to which users associate a robot with a specific ethnic origin and which characteristics of the robot are responsible for this. In a keynote speech, Chieko Asakawa (IBM), who herself has been blind since she was fourteen, reported on the AI ​​Suitcase project, in which a robot in the form of a trolley case is to take over the functions of a guide dog. Another keynote by Ericka Johnson, who teaches and researches at Linköping University in Sweden, will explain on March 16 how feminist theory can help to better understand the mutual entanglements of humans and robots. Robots and humans are different The study “Dancing with the Nonhuman” by Petra Gemeinboeck (Swinburne University of Technology) and Rob Saunders (Leiden University) is also based on feminist approaches. They plead for the robot to be recognized in its machine-like nature, instead of covering up the strangeness with a human-like design. Building on the concepts of the physicist and philosopher Karen Barad, they demand that the difference between man and machine should not be seen as an obstacle to interaction. Rather, it is about understanding how both mutually create each other in the interaction and how power to act arises from this encounter. “We understand human-machine relationships as a complex ecology,” Gemeinboeck and Saunders write, “in which human and nonhuman have always been entangled: a more-than-human encounter. ‘More-than-human’ here means a rejection of dualistic thinking that insists on a hierarchical distinction between subject and object, human and non-human being. Rather, social agency arises between the two.” These concepts inspired by quantum physics, transferred to the social realm by Karen Barad with terms such as “intra-action” and “diffraction”, are tested by Gemeinboeck and Saunders in their Machine Movement Lab, where dancers work with simple artefacts that consciously do not designed according to the model of living beings, merge and explore the resulting possibilities for action. Instead of human-robot interaction, they speak of “human-robot experience” and are convinced that their performative approach has significantly expanded the possibilities for developing robot designs. Six years ago, in an interview with heise online, the philosopher Johanna Seibt called for people not to get lost in discussions about the status of robots (“machine, person, living creature… or what?”) but to focus on the interactions made possible by them focus. “If robotics engineers see themselves as cultural engineers programming interactions, it’s clear that they also need to offer narrative structures,” she said. “All design decisions also move in the narrative space.” These ideas, which were still being discussed at the Robophilosophy conference, are now also having an effect on research into human-robot interaction. However, it will probably be a few more years before they also penetrate the mainstream of engineering sciences. (olb) To the home page

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