Embodied AI Talk by Tom Williams: Secret Agents. The Real and Imagined Inner Lives of Interactive Robots

Robots © iStockphoto.com
© iStockphoto.com

After three successful panels, the Embodied AI initiative started organizing a monthly online Talk Series. The goal of this Talk Series is to further understand the research field, build community and increase the visibility of expertise on both national and international levels. This month, we warmly invite you to a talk, by Dr Tom Williams who will discuss his research on enabling and understanding human-robot interaction that is sensitive to environmental, cognitive, social, and moral context.

Robots are Secret Agents

In his Embodied AI Talk Tom Williams explains why robots are Secret Agents: while computer scientists and roboticists may not view their robots as being fully autonomous, interactive, and adaptive, everyday users perceive them as such nonetheless. This creates a whole host of user expectations that may be hard to live up to – and that may cause problems when violated.

Williams will begin by explaining how robot design choices impact how people perceive robots and expect them to behave. He’ll then explain why robots are not simply agents, but are also moral and social agents, and explain the work the MIRRORLab has been doing to understand and address the unique perceptions and expectations that come along with these more nuanced types of agency. Finally, Williams will discuss how these two types of agency interact, and the unique challenges that this imposes.

Tom Williams

Dr Tom Williams is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the Colorado School of Mines, where he directs the Mines Interactive Robotics Research Lab. Prior to joining Mines, Williams earned a joint PhD in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from Tufts University in 2017.

Williams’ research focuses on enabling and understanding natural language based human-robot interaction that is sensitive to environmental, cognitive, social, and moral context. His work is funded by grants from NSF, ONR, and ARL, as well as by Early Career awards from NSF, NASA, and AFOSR.

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Online on MS Teams

Register here. Registered participants will receive the Teams link by e-mail.

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Read more about the Embodied AI Initiative here