Robot without Organs? Assemblage, Agency and Networked Sociality in Human-Robot Interaction

Samuel G Collins, Goran Trajkovski

In this paper, we give an overview of the results of a Human-Robot Interaction experiment, in a near zero-context environment. We stimulate the formation of a network joining together human agents and non-human agents in order to examine emergent conditions and social actions. Human subjects, in teams of 3-4 are presented with a task: to coax a robot (by any means) from one side of a table to the other, not knowing with what sensory and motor abilities the robotic structure is equipped. On the one hand, the goal of the exercise is to move the robot through any linguistic or paralinguistic means. But, from the perspective of the investigators, the goal is both broader and more nebulous: to stimulate any emergent interactions whatsoever between agents, human or non-human. Here we discuss emergent social phenomena in this assemblage of human and machine, in particular turn-taking and discourse, suggesting (counter-intuitively) that the transparency of non-human agents may not be the most effective way to generate multi-agent sociality.

Subjects: 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems; 4. Cognitive Modeling

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