Workshop participants

REELER's workshop organizers are pleased to announce the participation of the following speakers, listed here with brief selections from their position papers.

These participants will be included in a round of lightning talks and will be active in our moderated group discussion. It is still possible to join this group by submitting an abstract or paper by 14 February.

We invite all conference participants to join our workshop - a submission is not requisite. 

Cathrine Hasse will open our workshop with a lecture, Ethnographic research - What is it? 

This lecture will establish common ground among workshop participants, presenting the fundamentals of ethnographic research, the methods and perspectives often used in ethnographic studies, and the benefits and challenges of working through this methodology.

Niels Christian Mossfeldt Nickelsen will present his empirical study of Feeding Assistive Robotics (FAR) in care for the Disabled: Socio-technical imaginaries, ethics, and practice.

"In this presentation, I explore impact of assistive robots on work settings, how robotics affect workplace relations and routines, and issues of inclusion and exclusion. More precisely, I discuss ongoing transformations in care for the disabled in Denmark as an effect of technologically driven care innovation. Citizens with low or no function in their arms are obvious candidates to use feeding assistive robotics (FAR). [The governing authorities] endorse this technology. However, it proves difficult to both recruit suitable citizens and to ensure implementation and sustained use over an extended period…I report from an empirical study of the second generation of FAR [Bestic] by investigating imaginaries and ethics as articulated by roboticists and affected stakeholders such as users, care providers and occupational therapists…By using material semiotics as an analytic resource, I scrutinize both the socio-technological imaginaries and the infrastructural re-configurations implicated in practice by Bestic."

Lasse Blond will talk about Encountering robots in the field - How ethnographic studies of robots in practice benefit HRI.

"My ethnographic fieldwork concerning the transfer and implementation of South Korean socially assistive robots in elderly care practices in Finland and Denmark stresses the temporal and contextual aspects of the adaptation process....By combining HRI-studies with ethnography and STS-perspectives, I want to emphasize robots as multistable and recognize that robots like other artefacts are enveloped in social practices; that their role is constructed in these practices and not something that can be designed in advance. My empirical findings highlight the reciprocity of human-robotics relations and allow the roboticist to grasp robots as shapers of culture and shaped by the cultural context of their use. Knowledge generated from ethnography and ethnographic data thus seem valuable, not only as an important contribution to the conceptual development in HRI-studies, but also as a way to ground future designs of robots and their imagined uses in real life contexts."

Karolina Zawieska brings up the question Is roboethics really optional?

"Over the years, the question of roboethics has gained increased attention across a variety of disciplines, areas and institutions. Depending on the approach, there has been a variety of interdisciplinary attempts to determine and foster guiding rules and principles for the development and use of robotic and AI systems. While the reasons for engaging with roboethics are rather clear (‘ensure protection and well-being of human beings’), the reasons for not to addressing ethics in this context are certainly worth a closer look. This paper discusses the reasons for dismissing roboethics within some parts of the robotics community and the underlying logic for leaving ethics unaddressed in and outside the field of robotics. We argue that by excluding ethics from design thinking one actually excludes human beings, which is the ultimate form of dehumanisation of humans in our society. Since formal and abstract moral systems are often difficult to incorporate into practice-oriented robotics research, we suggest developing roboethics towards ‘lived ethics’."

Jessica Sorenson asks Where do ethics belong? in her ethnographic study of decision-making in an industrial robotics project.

"Formalized attempts to instill ethics in engineering have been prescriptive and narrowly focused on the individual engineer. Decision-making theories and frameworks have been similarly schematic and ordered. In a study of decision-making in a Danish collaborative industrial robotics project, I have explored how participants – engineers, primarily – think about decisions and ethics, how they make decisions in practice, and how they implement ethics into their work. Methods included participant observation, document and visual media analysis, object elicitation, and qualitative interviews. This ethnographic study revealed a discrepancy between participants’ cut-and-dry approaches to ethics and decision-making, and their more processual decision-making practices. Ethics, however, remained relegated to the concept stage of design and were not integrated into the continuous design process. I argue that engineering ethics ought to depart from hypothetical, procedural frameworks, and should draw ethical thinking out of the corner and into everyday practices by targeting existing decision-making activities of engineers."

[We are still evaluating position papers. Other speakers will soon be added. Check back again later or follow us on twitter for updates.]