Edited by Lennart Strand and Peter Simlinger
[Information Design Journal 16:3] 2008
► pp. 236–241
Robot communication - human contact with androids
We are increasingly communicating with robots, and the design of lifelike humanoid robots will face at least five challenges. 1) Robots should meet social needs – people are getting older, lonelier, and are looking for alternatives to face-to-face contact, for instance, in coaching and therapy. 2) Robot designers assume that the better they can simulate social and affective behavior, the more effective the robotic partner is. Yet, it is not always clear what natural behavior is, nor whether maximal humanlikeness equals optimal user satisfaction. 3) Multidisciplinary design teams require transdisciplinary theory to create mutual understanding and cover the wide-ranging facets of robot design. However, combining diverse theories from different domains means confronting major unification problems. 4) Empirical approaches to robot design usually miss out on logic consistency within theory. Conversely, formalization and mathematical modeling often lack external validity. Verification before validation seems to be the new way to go. 5) Finally, if it is actually possible to create lifelike, affective, sociable androids, the cognitive models underlying their behavior may be open to abuse, for example in malicious software that spies on people.