Presenting the 2016-2017 Anthrobotics Interdisciplinary Crag Programme

All students and researchers welcome
17 June 2016
Informatics Forum / Room 1.16 / 9.30am / All welcome

Read the Robohub interview here

Social Informatics Cluster Meeting / in partnership with the CRAG
Luis de Miranda
Presenting the 2016-2017 Anthrobotics Interdisciplinary Programme at UoE
Our Future With Robots and AI: A collaborative reflection


The system Human-Robot is a coordinated Janus-faced reality. We propose to call this hybrid unit the anthrobot, and the related approach anthrobotics. Previously the term ‘anthrobot’ has been used marginally as a technical designation for anthropomorphic robotic devices, ‘man-equivalent’ devices (Rosheim, 1990, 1994). The anthrobotic perspective not only belongs to the current transdisciplinary research on the social becoming of intelligent systems, but also contemplates a practical horizon in the future conception and implementation of socially healthy automation. Methodologically, anthrobotics is the choice to consider the unit human-machine rather than the separated realities (humans, on one side, and machines on the other). ‘In other words, association is not what happens after individuals have been defined with few properties, but what characterizes entities in the first place’ (Latour et al., 2012; Dewey, 1927), and ‘individuals coemerge as social agents with the social process’ (Di Paolo, 2009). Our functionalism, because it is humanity-at-work-by-necessity can be called a collective robotism, if we recall on the etymology of robot, and accept to distinguish a wider meaning of robotism from contemporary robotics. For example, institutions are a collective anthrobot, a ‘coordination artefact’ (Silva, Pereira, and Lima, 2015). ‘There is something definitely not organic about human societies; something inherently artificial.’ (Di Paolo, 2009). The anthrobot is the human/protocol dialectic that produces entwined socialised autonomy, meaning, embodiment, emergence and experience (Thompson, 2007). Our technology is part of our metabody, it manifests our secretions, mutations and becoming (Stiegler, 1998).

In 2016-2017, researchers and students from diverse disciplines will reflect on their own field and future work through an interdisciplinary dialogue about the social impact of robots and artificial intelligence. The project is about developing key skills for an interdisciplinary future via a project-driven workshop. We will addres an important contemporary question: What will the 21st century look like, when humans, robots, and intelligent systems are working and living alongside each other? We will discuss this question by looking at the impact and understanding of robots and AI in various fields and how we can anticipate and co-create this impact though the lens of transdisciplinarity and a reading-group. We will select (via EUSA and the CRAG social network) 10 to 20 motivated students in at least 10 of the following schools: Informatics, Literature, Language and Culture, Business School, Divinity, Economics, College of Art, Health, History, Classics and Archaeology, Law, Education, Philosophy, Psychology and Language Science, Social and Political Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics, Medical School, Veterinary School.

In synergy with the social informatics cluster, the Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications, and the Center for Robotics of the UoE, the members of the anthrobotics cluster will build co-creative prospective and reflective knowledge in the new field of anthrobotics through a weekly reading-group, and at an international workshop in January 2017. All will be conducted with the help of the CRAG, The Creation of Reality Group at LLC, and with the advise of leading researchers in robotics, informatics, social sciences, in partnership with the Social Informatics Cluster. The programme includes a free tutorial of 15-20 hours conceived as an introduction to algorithmic thinking, given by Michael Rovatsos, director of the Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications.

Posted in Crag seminar, News and Events.

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