A new form of being has entered our schools, shopping malls and hospitals as increasingly intelligent machines, robots, are stepping in to human spheres. They’re found guiding us when we feel lost in complex, unfamiliar buildings and they assist in educating children with special needs. In short, they’re intelligent agents that we interact with, at a basic level at least.

Robots have evolved to become social platforms. We humans tend to ascribe them human-like qualities, though our expectations are not always met. This invites questions on how we build relationships with these human-like beings and what bonds do we form with them? Do we trust humanoid robots, should we even trust them? How do we make sure that we develop ethical robots and how much intelligence, autonomy, morality and empathy do we – and should we – expect from intelligent machines? These are intricate questions that our society is approaching rather quickly.

Experience Lab is contributing to the understanding of this paradigm shift – not only are we talking through machines but to and with them – by studying the interaction between humanoid robots and human beings in schools and caring settings, such as hospitals. We’re expanding our current field of research, human-computer interaction, to human-robot interaction and thanks to the HuBot project, funded by the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, we’re exploring the evolution of humanoid robots on a global scale. As a result, we’ll be offering RnD projects together with regional stakeholders, interested in interaction with intelligent artificial beings. MIT professor of physics, Max Tegmark argues that the future of life with artificial intelligence is the most important conversation of our time (Life 3.0. Being human in the age of Artificial Intelligence 2017). Come join us in the conversation!