The in-between machine: The unique value proposition of a robot or why we are modelling the wrong things

Johannes Ferdinand Hoorn, Elly A. Konijn, Desmond M. Germans, Sander Burger, Annemiek Munneke

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We avow that we as researchers of artificial intelligence may have properly modelled psychological theories but that we overshot our goal when it came to easing loneliness of elderly people by means of social robots. Following the event of a documentary film shot about our flagship machine Hanson's Robokind "Alice" together with supplementary observations and research results, we changed our position on what to model for usefulness and what to leave to basic science. We formulated a number of effects that a social robot may provoke in lonely people and point at those imperfections in machine performance that seem to be tolerable. We moreover make the point that care offered by humans is not necessarily the most preferred - even when or sometimes exactly because emotional concerns are at stake.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICAART 2015 - 7th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence, Proceedings
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9789897580741
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event7th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence, ICAART 2015 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 10 Jan 201512 Jan 2015


Conference7th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence, ICAART 2015


  • Human care
  • Interaction design
  • Loneliness
  • Modelling
  • Social robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software

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