International Research Conference Robophilosophy Conference: Culturally Sustainable Social Robotics
August 18-21, 2020
Aarhus University, Denmark
Once we place so-called ‘social robots’ into the social practices of our everyday lives and lifeworlds, we create complex, and possibly irreversible, interventions in the physical and semantic spaces of human culture and sociality. The long-term socio-cultural consequences of these interventions is currently impossible to gauge. While the use of ‘social’ robots in service functions, i.e. within the care-, education-, and entertainment sector, promises great economic gain, it also potentially infringes upon ethical, epistemic, existential, and other socio-cultural core values.
After a decade of interdisciplinary research into social robotics and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) we still lack a clear understanding and regulative directives for how to ensure that social robotics will contribute to a community’s resources for human well-being—to the practices in which members of a community experience justice, dignity, autonomy, privacy, security, authenticity, knowledge, freedom, beauty, friendship, sensitivity, empathy, compassion, creativity, and other socio-cultural core values, as these may be shared, or vary, across cultures.
As governments of the highly developed countries worldwide implement “industry 4.0” and prepare to enter the “automation age” (McKinsey) central questions concerning the larger cultural significance of social robots remain unclear and are more urgent than ever:
* How can we develop social robotics applications that are culturally sustainable? That is: how can we create cultural dynamics with or through social robots that will not impact our value landscape negatively?
* If cultural sustainability is relative to a community, what can we expect in a global robot market?
* Could we design human-robot interactions in ways that will positively cultivate the values we, or people anywhere, care about?
* What are the greatest challenges for responsible or culturally sustainable robotics?
* How can we arrive at sufficiently clear and useful conceptions of these terms?
* Are there sufficiently concrete methods, strategies, or approaches to research, design, and development processes in social robotics, or to policy and legislation, that ensure the cultural sustainability of this technology?
* Are there paradigmatic examples for culturally sustainable applications of social robotics to guide us?
* Can we approach solutions by way of working from paradigm examples of culturally sustainable social robotics?
Robophilosophy 2020 will explore these and related questions, with its usual broad scope, embracing both theoretical and practical angles.
The event is an invitation to philosophers and other Humanities researchers, as well as researchers in social robotics and HRI, to explore in detail, and from interdisciplinarily informed perspectives, how the Humanities can contribute to shaping a future where social robotics is guided by the goals of enhancing socio-cultural values rather than mere utilities. Concrete pro-active proposals will be preferred to wide-scope reflections.
Robophilosophy 2020 is the fourth event in the biennial Robophilosophy Conference Series (www.robo-philosophy.org) which was introduced with the aim of promoting interdisciplinary Humanities research in and on social robotics. Robophilosophy is foremost “philosophy of, for, and by social robotics”, but it is a new area of interdisciplinary and often experimental research. Thus topically relevant research submissions from any disciplineare welcome.
The conference will feature the theatre performance ‘Eliza 2.0’, art installations, and special outreach sessions to communicate to policy makers and the public at large the core message of conference series: only if Humanities researchers join forces with the research community and practitioners in social robotics and HRI can we create futures worth living.
Plenaries (confirmed, alphabetical order)
Alan Winfield (University of the West of England, UK)
Aimee van Wynsberghe (Delft University of Technology, NL)
Catrin Misselhorn (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, DE)
John Danaher (National University of Ireland, Galway, IE)
Robert Sparrow (Monash University, AU)
Selma Sabanovic (Indiana University Bloomington, US)
Shannon Vallor (Santa Clara University, US)
The conference will feature about 80-100 talks in plenaries, special workshops, and parallel sessions of reviewed research papers.
Timeline Research Papers
Submission of research papers: February 1, 2020
Notification of accepted research papers: March 15, 2020
Submission of final papers: April 15, 2020
Submission of workshop descriptions: January 15, 2020
Notification of workshop acceptance: February 2, 2020
Submission of final workshop descriptions and abstracts: April 15, 2020
Early bird registration: until February 1, 2020 (opens mid-December); register here
Normal registration: until July 15, 2020-afterwards late registration
Late registration: August 15, 2020-afterwards onsite registration
Conference: August 18-21, 2020