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Press release


The “robot revolution” has begun—soon we will see not only self-driving cars but artificial ‘social’ agents in hospitals and classrooms.  Which cultural changes can we expect from this development and how can we guide it?  From  Oct 17 to Oct 21 Aarhus University will host the world’s largest international research conference in Humanities research in and on social robotics.

 In 13 plenaries and 74 session and workshop presentations international researchers from philosophy, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, art, psychology, cognitive science, computer science, and robotics will jointly address the question “What Social Robots Can and Should Do.”  

The conference is the second event in the Robophilosophy Conference Series and organized by the Research Network for Transdisciplinary Studies in Social Robotics (TRANSOR) and the Research Unit in Robophilosophy at Aarhus University, with support of the Carlsberg Foundation, the Danish Research Council, and the Velux Foundation. 

The 13 plenary speakers are among the most visible international top-researchers in the field.   From the perspectives of robotics, philosophy, computer science, anthropology, psychology, interaction studies, cognitive science, and art, they will present the larger trajectories of the current debate on questions that may come to determine our future much  more profoundly than we currently expect.  Among these questions are the following:  Can and should robots take on social roles? Can and should robots have artificial empathy?  Can and should robots reason ethically and exhibit ‘good judgement’?   Can and  Should Robots have Free Will? Will the boundaries between humans and robots vanish, e.g., if we use sex-robots and machine-enhanced mobility (prosthetics)? What should our ethical relations towards robots be, if any?  What are our responsibilities now, at the onset of the “robot revolution”?

"Our main aim in organizing a large international conference," says J. Seibt, one of the organizers, "was to draw attention to the sad irony that in many countries including Denmark governmental resources are transferred from the Humanities to engineering at a time when engineering needs the Humanities most--never before has Humanities research been so urgent and so important."

In connection with the conference the Center for Speculative Children’s Design (Boston, USA) will hold the  exhibition Children’s Imagined Robots, with drawings by children from three continents.

For further information see www.robo-philosophy.org; onsite registration possible.