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Frederik Vejlin

Do robots mean what they say? Curious robots, intentional agency and the logics of experimentation

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskning

In this talk, I explore two quite different attempts at implementing some form of intentional agency in social robots that I witnessed during my fieldwork in 2017 at the Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories (HIL) in Japan. In the first case, the researchers at HIL staged a demonstration of the android ERICA’s Intention-Desire System (the I-D System) for a film crew from Al Jazeera, who visited the lab to record a documentary on social robots in Japan. In the second case, I describe a human-robot interaction experiment designed to evaluate whether the algorithmic implementation of intrinsically motivated curiosity in the humanoid Robovie would produce more interesting and humanlike interactions when compared to a learning system that attempts to replicate socially appropriate behaviour. I combine Alfred Gell’s discussions of intentionality and the art nexus in Art and Agency (1998) with Andy Pickering’s redescription of scientific experiments as dances of agency (e.g. 1995, 2012) to discuss the different configurations of intentionality and agency that emerged in the two situations. I argue that although both ERICA and Robovie might arguably exhibit some interactive forms of intentional agency, the combination of their respective algorithmic systems and the relational matrix in which these were deployed shape their agential possibilities in qualitatively different ways. I show how ERICA’s behaviour proceeds from a logic of replication that inhibits full participation in the dance of agency, thus resembling Gell’s figure of the ‘secondary agent’, whereas Robovie’s algorithmic curiosity enacted a logic of experimentation that enabled the robot to take the lead, improvise new ‘choreographies,’ and thereby perform as a ‘primary agent’. Finally, I use this discussion to cautiously approach the question of whether social robots mean what they say and why this might not be the best question to begin with.
Udgivelsesår24 aug. 2021
StatusUdgivet - 24 aug. 2021
BegivenhedMega Seminar: To begin again - Sandbjerg Gods, Sønderborg, Danmark
Varighed: 23 aug. 202125 aug. 2021


KonferenceMega Seminar
LokationSandbjerg Gods

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