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Friday, December 13, 2013

Engagement AI Goes Public in the UK

Not really AI, as I read it, not autonomous, but tele-operation, and the researching of how people would act and interact with local avatar robotics.    What would these avatars be acting as: Police, workers, security, information providers?  The simple reaction of people to robotics in public is not clear.   Can they project authority?  What are the legal implications?   A natural extension of large scale UK CCTV networks: Making them mobile and interactive.  A stunning view of the future.   Full article in LaboratoryTalk: 

At the right a picture clip of Robothespian, one of the avatars mentioned in the article. It is not implied that this is the form of the robots being considered.

" ... Researchers from leading UK institutions are working on a £2m project designed to look at how remotely operated robots could enable people to take part in public spaces - without them actually being there. Alongside researchers from the Universities of Bath, Oxford and Queen Mary University of London, experts from Exeter University and Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) will look at how using remotely operated robots might enable people to participate in public spaces.

The £2 million three-year project, Being There: Humans and Robots in Public Spaces, funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and led by Exeter University, will examine how robotics can help to bridge the gap between the way we communicate in person and online. The aim of our research is for the robot to be an avatar for a remote person

The project will seek to look at the social and technological aspects of being able to appear in public in proxy forms, via a range of advanced robotics platforms. The robots will be controlled remotely - a method called tele-operation and a tele-operator will be able to see through the robot’s eyes and speak through its mouth, while directing where it looks and how it moves. .... "

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