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Working with [humans/robots] to make better [robots/humans]

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Dec 10

We are happy to present Katie Winkle, Digital Futures Postdoctoral Research fellow based at the division of Robotics, Perception and Learning, specifically within the area of Social Robotics. Previous to this, she completed her PhD at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the U.K.

Date and time: 10 December 2020, 12pm – 1 pm
Speaker: Katie Winkle
Title: Working with [humans/robots] to make better [robots/humans]
Meeting ID: 674 3268 2790
Password: DF2020

Picture of Katie WinkleBio: After originally studying to be a mechanical engineer, Katie undertook a PhD on social robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the UK, where she also undertook work on responsible robotics with partners from the University of Oxford. She successfully defended her thesis ‘Expert-Informed Design and Automation of Persuasive, Socially Assistive Robots’ in Summer 2020. Now, Katie is a Digital Futures Postdoctoral Research Fellow at KTH, based in the Social Robotics group at the Division of Robotics, Perception and Learning. Her research is hugely interdisciplinary, drawing on psychology and the social sciences as well as the latest in robotics and AI to engineer effective, meaningful and impactful human-robot interactions.​

Abstract: Socially assistive robots are those which should provide some helpful function through their social interactions. In my PhD thesis, I posited that this is really all about social influence – designing socially persuasive and hence influential robots that can induce some desirable behaviour change in the user. Literally, using robots to make ‘better’ humans. However, it’s hard to do this well, and potentially at least a little bit ethically questionable.  This is where the humans come in – (most) humans are pretty good at this social stuff and some (e.g. therapists, teachers) are expert at it. They can also help us roboticists figure out exactly what our robots should (not) do, and to think about the broader social impact of our work. So clearly, we should be working with humans to make better robots.  In this talk I’ll draw on examples from my work to demonstrate how both of these things can be done in practice,  and try to convince you that working on these two goals simultaneously is the best way forward for engineering effective and meaningful human-robot interactions.  ​