Believing in Robots

Activity: Talk or presentationSeminar


Research Seminar

Robots have started appearing as actors of dramatic characters in plays. Robot characters first emerged on dramatic stages in the twentieth century but they were always performed by human actors; robots never performed themselves. The practice of robots performing character versions of themselves on stage (as opposed to in film) is a markedly twenty-first century phenomenon.

Why are robots cast in plays? What sorts of characters do they perform? What identities do they conjure? And how do their robot forms as performers interact with the fictional android characters they are cast to play? Prompted to investigate questions such as these, my research has led me to identify and interrogate, in particular, the role played by the audience in engaging with stage robot forms, particularly in relation to the production and workings of affinity and empathy, the uncanny, and belief. In the process of my research, I have come to recognise the inherent theatricality bound to human-robot interactions and the research potential that arises from positioning the social robot as a performer.
Period3 May 2017
Event titleBelieving in Robots
Event typeSeminar