Us, plus robots.
My research examines how robot design encourages or discourages human emotional attachment. Of particular interest to me are human-robot interactions in militarized spaces. Long-term, this research can be used to help improve troop robotics training, enhance robot development specifications to mitigate mission-dependent risks, and improve warfighter and civilian safety in conflict environments, both foreign and domestic. This work is scaffolded by an interdisciplinary approach used to better understand human-robot social interactions and their related human behaviors, actions, and cultural influences. More broadly, these research findings can be applied to the development of robots that are effective in human collaborative/team or training situations, especially in stressful conditions (for example, medicine, space, and humanitarian relief contexts).
In addition to looking at human emotion and decision-making, what sets my work apart is that I examine organizational structures surrounding phenomena in human-robot interactions. I situate peoples experiences with technology within larger social systems, formal and informal, such as workplace organizations, in order to identify changeable issues to influence how people work with technological systems. In short, as a consultant, I can also work with an organization or institution (short-term, such as for a one-off talk) or long-term (in-house education or research) to increase effectiveness and even pleasure for people working with complex emerging technologies. My work can also be used in conjunction with training and education programs in order to increase organizational effectiveness and overall understanding of processes.
I participated as a speaker at TEDxEAL in Odense, Denmark on March 3, a university TEDx event. In January of 2016, I enjoyed being a visiting lecturer at Designskolen Kolding during the first week of the "Robotics and Social Inclusion" course. My lectures included "Culture and human-robot interaction in militarized spaces," "Romantic relationships with Robotic Sex Workers," and "An introduction to qualitative research methods."
I have a book chapter (in review for) the upcoming anthology Sex Robots: Social, Legal and Ethical Implications, J. Danaher & N. McArthur, Eds. (MIT Press). The working title of this chapter is Deus Sex Machina: Loving Robot Sex Workers, and the allure of an insincere kiss, and it explores models of understanding human love, affection, and sexual feelings toward robots, and some of the ethical and cultural questions that emerge from potential emotional attachment to the complex technological system of a robot.
Keywords used in my research: Attachment, Attachment Theory, Communication, Culture, Cultural studies, Defense, Design, Emerging technologies, Emotion, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, EOD, Human Factors, Human-Robot Interaction, Improvised Explosive Devices, Interaction Design, Learning Sciences, Military, Robotics, Social Robotics, User-Centered Design, User Experience.
An introduction to the premise of my new book, available for purchase now. Also, here is where you find review copy request information, a media one-sheet with more information about my work, and all that good stuff.
My abbreviated research statement, current research, education, teaching, presentations, and publications (also available as a PDF).
A short bio that explains the path to my current research interests.