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Meet Katie Winkle – Postdoc Fellow at Digital Futures

Hi Katie Winkle, describe your role as a Postdoc Fellow at Digital Futures and why you applied for this fellowship mobility program?

I am a social roboticist working at the Division of Robotics Perception and Learning. I applied for the Digital Futures fellowship because of the fantastic freedom it gives you to pursue your own research project, and the idea of working with researchers from a range of universities and departments really appealed to me.

The title of your postdoc project is “On The Feminist Design of Social Robots and Designing Robots For Young People, With Young People”. It’s a long title – tell us a bit about it? Have you already some results from your work?

Aha! It’s a bit long because it’s really two projects I am working on side by side, with some overlap so really this describes the two focuses of my work at the moment. First, a feminist social robot design which is about trying to challenge the status quo a little when it comes to how we are approaching the design of social robots and human robot interaction. And second, working to develop robots for young people with young people rather than for them. These two aims overlapped in my first few studies on designing a classroom robot that fights back against sexist, abusive comments with high school students.

Your research is interdisciplinary, drawing on psychology and the social sciences and the latest in robotics and AI – why did you decide to focus on these topics?

Because they are interesting! And also I think robotics and AI need to have this interdisciplinary approach if we want to create systems that really ‘work’ – that are accepted, used and useful, in the real world.

Finally, tell us a little bit about yourself!

Sweden is the first place me and my cat Lilly – who I brought all the way here with me – have lived outside of the UK.  I moved here in September 2020 and because of COVID I feel like there is still so much I haven’t seen in Stockholm, so I am really looking forward to things opening back up again – feel free to send me some sightseeing recommendations!

Link to postdoc project 

 

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