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Frederik Vejlin

Experiments in Artificial Sociality: Curious robots, relational configurations, and dances of agency

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In this article, I explore how experiments with social robots enact
and reconfigure more-than-human forms of sociality. I combine
recent anthropological discussions of nonhuman sociality with Andy
Pickering’s work on dances of agency (1993, 1995) and John Law’s
method assemblages (2004) to show how human-robot interaction
experiments enact open-ended and decentred configurations of entangling
relations between humans and robots. I propose the concept of
artificial sociality to capture both the ongoing enactments and multiple
results of such experimental reconfigurations. Using these conceptual
tools, I unpack the “curious robot experiment” from my ethnographic
fieldwork in a Japanese robotics laboratory and compare the kinds of
sociality produced in the two experimental conditions. I argue that
the curious robot exemplifies what Pickering calls technologies of
engagement (2018) by manifesting a form of artificial sociality that
augments the unpredictability of dances of agency enacted in (re)
configurations of entangling relations.
TidsskriftSTS Encounters - DASTS working paper series
Sider (fra-til)53-87
Antal sider35
StatusUdgivet - 2021

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