Introducing robotic humanities
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Introducing robotic humanities



Recent advances in robotics open opportunities for research and developments in related fields: including the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. This presentation reports on an emerging ...

Recent advances in robotics open opportunities for research and developments in related fields: including the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. This presentation reports on an emerging collaboration at the University of Sydney between the Centre for Social Robotics and the Digital Cultures program.



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  • Digital humanities should include what might be called ‘robotic humanities’: the intersections of research and development practices in robotics and Humanities. \n
  • Here is some background about where our current research on robotics has emerged from. \n
  • Let’s not define or limit Robotics, or Humanities. In this talk I’ll simply offer some glimpses of the opportunities for bringing to bear the domains of practice and knowledge in Arts, Humanities and Social Science disciplines in relation to recent advances in Mechatronics and Robotics. \n
  • Humanists are most familiar with representations of robotics in popular culture, such as the 1975 (and lesser 2004) film Stepford Wives. Such fictional explorations of cultural anxieties around uncanny new technologies threatening human uniqueness are certainly valid and important. \n
  • Certain high profile areas of contemporary robotics bring up similar questions around human identity, and the character of interactions with mirror selves. Hiroshi Ishiguro’s work at Osaka University is among the most striking. Here he is with his robotic avatar, Geminoid H1-1. \n
  • Geminoid F (for female) is a more recent, teleoperated model, modelled on a woman in her 20s. Created by Ishiguro and ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, she has a more efficient design, and closer to a production model that could be bought off the shelf. They anticipate she may be useful as a calming presence in hospitals. Across a range of domains, robots like Geminoid are becoming cheap and stable enough to find applications in everyday life. \n
  • Simulated humans are not the only possibility for robots with affective and communicational qualities. Another of Ishiguro’s projects is the Telenoid, an even simpler physical embodiment of distant operator’s voice and movements. This device will cost $8,000, and is also seen as being useful in health care settings. It invites careful readings from Humanities. \n
  • Other researchers have experimented with less realistic expressive robots, such as FR-1 from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), shown here at Robotworld in Seoul in 2010. A branch of robotics works on robots that ‘express emotions’. They tend to turn to disciplines of psychology to measure the responses of those exposed to robotic interactions. Humanities researchers are equipped to bring a complementary critical, historical, displinarily-grounded attention to the affective and communicative features of such robots. \n
  • FURO illustrates another domain in which Humanities-based skills will have a significant place in the emerging robotics industry: in developing content for robot platforms. In this case, FURO tells the story of Snow White. Of course the content is not only the words on screen, and the voice performance, but also the range of movements of the robot’s head and body. Such a robot is worth little without well conceived, researched and produced content. \n
  • Robotic applications extend also to teaching settings, such as this trial tele-operated English-language teaching robot. While a remote teacher provides the face and voice, the robot is ‘aware’ of its surroundings, moves autonomously, seeks eye contact with students, and has emotional expressions. Again, I see possibilities for collaborations between engineers and Humanities researchers in choreographing movements, repurposing robot platforms, writing content, and interrogating themes in ethical, aesthetic, identity and historical questions. \n
  • I’m convinced that working at the intersections of robotics, Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities has great potential for excellent, ground-breaking research. At the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, Mari Velonaki, David Rye and others have been creating art works employing robotic technologies. Engineers see exhibition in art galleries as opportunities for collecting data about human-robot interactions. The art world sees Velonaki’s installations as compelling artistic works. The ARC has seen the work as worthy of Velonaki’s Postdoctoral Fellowship and QEII Fellowship. Velonaki is currently working on a long term humanoid robot project in collaboration with Hiroshi Ishiguro. \n
  • \n

Introducing robotic humanities Introducing robotic humanities Presentation Transcript

  • ROBOTIC HUMANITIES Chris Chesher Digital Cultures
  • DIGITAL CULTURES• Digital Cultures program has a 10 year history in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at University of Sydney• Conductstransdisciplinary research into cultural practices around emerging technologies • e.g. social media, new media arts, computer games, mobile• Currently researching cultures of robotics in collaboration with the Centre for Social Robotics at Australian Centre for Field Robotics
  • ROBOTS IN CINEMAJoanna’s incomplete double in Stepford Wives
  • HUMANOID Hiroshi Ishiguro’s Geminoid H1-1
  • GEMINOID FTeleoperated android
  • TELEPRESENT ROBOTS Hiroshi Ishiguro’s Telenoid
  • MEDIA PLATFORM Future Robot FURO, Korea
  • REMOTE PEDAGOGUE TeleEngkey by Mun-Taek Choi KIST Research Centre, Korea
  • FISH-BIRDMari Velonaki, ACFR, University of Sydney
  • ROBOT CULTURES• We’relooking for collaborations and connections with academics, postgraduate and Honours students••• Cultures of Robotics: Simon Penny Dec 16 530pm Law 101