What Social Robots Can and Should Do

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The “robotic moment” (Turkle 2011) is no longer on the horizon—we are living it now.  Given the rapid development in social robotics, we are now at that potential turning point in human cultural history during which we need to react to concrete visions, by the robotics research industry, of placing artificial ‘social’ agents ubiquitously into the public and private spaces of human social interactions. How shall we respond? And who is to respond? If we are changing the ‘human condition’ at its foundations, can humanity rise to the occasion?

This conference is motivated by two premises First, the challenge of social robotics can only be met by a joint research effort across disciplines.  Since the questions forced upon us by social robotics reach deeply into the fabric of our cultural self-comprehension, we need close collaborations among researchers in robotics, anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, education science, linguistics, interaction studies, and philosophy.  Only by way of research collaborations can we work out concrete and constructive responses that can guide developers and producers of this new technology, as well as those who will be exposed to it.



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