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What Robots Want: Android Autonomy and Artificial Sociality at the Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories

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In this paper, I want to explore how the relations between intentions, autonomy, and a sense of presence are configured in the development of an autonomous android robot, Erica, currently being developed at the Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory (HIL) in Kyoto, Japan. Since the early 2000’s, the HIL researchers have studied how a human presence can be transferred to an android body via teleoperation (Sakamoto et al. 2007). Recently, however, the focus has shifted from teleoperated to autonomous androids, evident in the development of the ERATO Intelligent Communication Android (Erica). In the paper, I discuss how the implementation of Erica’s intention-desire system (I-D system), contributes to the emerging presence of some form of android autonomy. Since it creates a feedback loop between internal states and external behaviour by allowing Erica to choose an interactive trajectory based on how external input progressively changes her internal motivations, the HIL researchers see the development of the I-D system as a crucial step towards developing an autonomous and sociable android (Glas et al. 2016: 28). The I-D system, ideally conceived, is wholly ‘autonomous’ and is made possible by the networked integration of a variety of technologies; her system architecture; auditory, visual, and tactile sensors; strategically placed pneumatic actuators; speech synthesisers; and so forth. When integrated properly, the system is supposed to run without human interference. However, Erica’s potential autonomy is not only indebted to her technological construction. On the contrary, it is intimately reliant on the continuous presence of human interference from both her programmers, operators, and interactive interlocutors alike. In short, I argue that the presence of humans is crucial for the possibility of creating android autonomy and that without human interference, androids could hardly be called social nor autonomous.
Udgivelsesår13 aug. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 13 aug. 2019
BegivenhedMEGA Seminar: Time to choose - Sandbjerg , Danmark
Varighed: 12 aug. 201914 aug. 2019


KonferenceMEGA Seminar

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