PsychEng Seminar by Student: Technology with a Face – A Future with Social Robots

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Technology with a Face: A Future with Social Robots
Shane Saunderson, MIE PhD Student

Abstract: Robots have already had a massive impact on our world and, as we learn to make them more social, are poised to evolve our hospitals, schools, businesses, and homes. However, given the potential for these robots to change the very fabric of our society, interactions, and even our understanding of ‘self’, we have a responsibility to approach their deployment in a considered and collaborative way. This seminar will look backwards at the impact of historical “social technologies”, review current research to understand the present implications of social robots, and speculate on the future of evolving social automation. In doing so, this seminar will push attendees to think about their role in the development and deployment of new technologies to ensure that tomorrow’s tech is aligned with the needs, desires, and norms of people, not dictated by the art of the possible or fetishization of new gadgets. Technology can bring with it great change – good and bad – and technology with a face, even more so.

Biography: Shane Saunderson received a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering from McGill University in 2005 and a M.B.A. in technology and innovation from Ryerson University in 2011. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying social Human-Robot Interaction under Prof. Goldie Nejat within the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Laboratory (ASBLab) in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. Shane holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and is a Junior Fellow with Massey College. His research focuses on psychological influence caused by robots during social interactions with particular interest in topics such as persuasion, trust, and authority.

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