Gibbons Memorial Lectures

Can we be friends with robots?

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Social robots are now being made to assist us in our daily lives in our homes and workplaces. These robots typically look humanoid, and are designed to display signs of attention, cognition and emotion. This lecture will discuss research on how people feel about living with such robots, and the benefits and harm robots may bring.

The talk will draw on a series of New Zealand studies examining how people respond to robots in their own homes and in healthcare settings for long periods. People’s attribution of mind to robots and their feelings of companionship with robots will be a particular focus.

Elizabeth Broadbent is an Associate Professor of Health Psychology in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She initially gained an honours degree in electrical and electronic engineering in order to pursue her desire to make personal robots.

After becoming interested in the psychological aspects of illness and in psychoneuroimmunology, she obtained her MSc and PhD in health psychology. She now combines her health psychology and robotics interests to study healthcare robotics.

Elizabeth is a vice-chair of the multi-disciplinary CARES robotics group at the University of Auckland. In 2010, Elizabeth was a visiting academic at the School of Psychology at Harvard University and in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA.

In 2017, she obtained a Fulbright award to return to Boston to conduct further research on companion robots. She is an associate editor of the journal IEEE Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction, and Director of the Masters of Health Psychology programme at the University of Auckland.

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Automation
  • Robots

Speakers

Elizabeth Broadbent is an Associate Professor of Health Psychology in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
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