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Workshop 13 Speakers: Exploring Responsible Robotics Hands-On: A conference Lab on Three Use Cases

Laundry and Garbage collection – a reasonable scenario for a care facility robot?

Developing useful scenarios for (social) robots in care settings is a huge challenge above all balancing technical feasibility and user-centered affordances. The use case of laundry and garbage collection covers an existing organizational need in a case facility. I will discuss the technical feasibility as well as potential aspect of technology acceptance/rejection from a care-taker and care-receiver perspective.

Astrid Weiss

I am a senior researcher at Vienna University of Technology (Austria). My current research focuses on Long-term Human-Robot Interaction with service robots. I am especially interested in the impact technology has on our everyday life and what makes people accept or reject technology. I hold a master’s degree in sociology and a PhD in social sciences from the University of Salzburg. During my studies she specialized on methodologies of empirical social research and applied statistics. I publish in conferences such as HRI, RO-MAN, and ICSR and journals such as International Journal of Social Robotics, Autonomous Robots, and the Journal of HRI. I am regularly member of Program and Organizing Committees related to HRI research.

Neuropsychology of Dementia and robots

Discussion regarding neuropsychological functions in patients with dementia and robot care

Johann Lehrner

Research in the fields of neurocognition and neurodegenerative disease

The Shape of Robots

The physical form of todays robots are predominantly designed with reference to either; a machine, a human, an animal, a living thing, or caricatured physical attributes.  While all of these form references might provide the user with specific clues about the robots capabilities or how to interact with it, then from a design perspective it raises the question of whether these are the most successful form references, if we want robots to integrate into the homes and lives of people. Imagine a common room at an elderly care facility; the room is filled with wooden furniture, rounded shapes and soft colorful textiles. What kind of a robot would blend in here – a plastic dog, a machine-like blue metal one, a shiny white futuristic one with a caricatured face, or one looking like the living care staff? The example robots are illustrative of the aesthetics and form references often employed, however other form references might be imagined, such as objects, furniture or interiors. This type of form references are seldom pursued within robotics, although they might provide new ways of thinking about how robots could look, or integrate into people’s lives and homes. 

During the talk, I will reflect on the physical design of the robots in relation to the three cases, focusing on the type of form references chosen, the relation between form and purpose, and feedforward.

Majken Kirkegaard Rasmussen

Majken Kirkegaard Rasmussen is Assistant Professor at the Department of Engineering at Aarhus University.  She has a background in architecture, product and interaction design, and specializes in shape-changing interfaces and (social) robotics design. The work takes its outset in a constructive design approach to research, where design is used as means of exploration and creation of knowledge. Her work focuses on exploring physical appearance, materiality, kinematic profiles, interaction and experience of robots and physically dynamic artefacts (e.g. 1).

[1] Erik Grönvall, Sofie Kinch, Marianne Graves Petersen, and Majken K. Rasmussen. 2014. Causing commotion with a shape-changing bench: experiencing shape-changing interfaces in use, CHI 2014.

The Ethics of Guidance Robots

I will explore some of the ethical issues that can possibly arise by an application such as guidance robots in elderly care residences. As I understand the current design, some residents will be accompanied by robots while others will be accompanied by human carers. The first issue, that springs to mind involve perceptions of justice and self-worth. How will the resident feel about being accompanied by a robot rather than a person? Will she be indifferent, if not happy about the change, or will she feel like a second class “resident” on whom human company cannot be spared? Will she think that it is unfair that others get to be with humans but not her? Inversely, some residents may envy those who get to try chatting with the robots, while they are being denied that opportunity. A second set of issues has to do with cases where the resident is unco-operative. Human carers may have learned subtle techniques involving verbal exchanges as well as body language and light touching to nudge and persuade residents to come to the dining room when it is time. But what about the robot at issue? What is it to do when the resident refuses to leave the room or suddenly walks in the wrong direction? The third question is more general: has the relative loss of human contact a positive or negative effect (or only a negligible one) on the resident’s well-being? Is the idea that loss in some domain is to be made up in increased contact in other domains?

Raffaele Rodogno

Rodogno specializes in ethics, moral psychology, political science, and roboethics.  Rodogno has published extensively on emotions, their relationship to values, conflicts, and moral decision making.  He investigates human robot interaction from within a comprehensive approach to moral psychology that focuses on the role of attachments for human well-being and the goodlife. He has recently published articles on the ethics of social robots in elderly care, the moral agency of robots, and the ethics of algorithmic decision making.