The Future of Robots in Our Everyday Lives: A Transdisciplinary Discussion

The prestigious HUMAN+ international and interdisciplinary fellowship programme, led by the SFI ADAPT Centre and Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, is launching Human+ Tech Talks. Human+ Tech Talks is a series of online roundtable discussions that will bring together a distinguished panel of industry and academic experts to explore different dimensions of human-centred AI research.

This edition of the Human+ Tech Talks series focuses on the topic – The Future of Robots in Our Everyday Lives.

Robots that populate our social everyday lives have become a ubiquitous figure of the sociotechnical imaginary of the Global North. They can take the shape of smaller artifacts to life-sized humanoid robots. Researchers have been examining the gendered, racialized and ableist dimensions of designing, building and implementing so-called social robots. This discussion aims to not only formulate a humanistic critique of engineering practices, but rather to deliver the points of departure to engineer social robots differently.

The panel will tackle these main questions, among others:

  1. How can robotic engineers and humanities scholars work together?
  2. What kind of future robots do we envision when collaborating?
  3. How could robots become socially useful in new, not yet known ways?

Who are the speakers?

Dr Pat Treusch

Dr Pat Treusch is a Human+ programme fellow from the Arts and Humanities Research Strand. Her work focuses on human-machine relations from a feminist, humanistic perspective. Pat’s work draws from her previous interdisciplinary research on “Robotic Knitting”, in which she realised collaborative hand knitting between humans and a cobot (collaborative robot) in order to tweak established imaginations of interaction at the human-cobot interface. In her project in the Human+ programme, she continues to realise interdisciplinary fieldwork that situates her — as a feminist humanities scholar — within contemporary sites of AI technology.

Dr Conor McGinn

Dr Conor McGinn is Assistant Professor in the Mechanical, Manufacturing and Biomedical Engineering School at Trinity College Dublin. His research interests include Automation and Robotic Control Systems, Computer-Aided Design, Design Engineering, Human-Robot Interaction, with 45+ path-breaking published research articles in these and related domains. Dr Conor has also received a number of prestigious awards and honours, such as the MIT Technology Review 35 under 35 and the Time Magazine Top 100 Inventions of the Year (Stevie the Robot).

Dr Benjamin Cowan

Dr Benjamin Cowan is Associate Professor in the School of Information & Communication Studies at University College Dublin. His research lies at the juncture between psychology, human-computer interaction and communication systems in investigating how design impacts aspects of user behaviour in social, collaborative and communicative technology interactions. His recent research has focuses specifically on how theory and quantitative methods from psychological science can be applied to understand and design speech and language technologies  as well as how we can design for habit change across of number of domains and contexts. Dr Cowan is the co-founder and co-director of the HCI@UCD group, one of the largest HCI groups in Ireland and is a funded investigator in the SFI funded ADAPT Centre.

What is Human+?

HUMAN+ is an international and interdisciplinary fellowship programme led by the SFI ADAPT Centre and Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute. The programme is supported by the prestigious European Commission (EC) Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Action and recruits up to 18 experienced researchers for a 2-year postdoctoral programme. HUMAN+ aims to connect computer science researchers with arts and humanities researchers and enterprises to forge a human-centric approach to technology.

Sign up for the next HUMAN+ Tech Talk and be part of fascinating discussions on the future of robotics technology in our daily lives.


Please indicate if you have any access requirements, such as ISL/English interpreting, so that we can facilitate you in attending this event. Contact: [email protected]