Events & Reunions

Dean Kim Knox Lecture on Engineering Ethics and Public Policy: “Virtues and Vices of Social Robots”

Sponsored by:

School of Engineering

Location: 51 Winthrop Street
Medford, MA 02155 | See Map

When: Thursday, December 06, 2012, 5:00 pm (iCal)


Speaker: Matthias Scheutz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Cognitive and Computer Science
Adjunct Associate Professor, Psychology
Director, Human-Robot Interaction laboratory (hrilab)
Director, Joint Ph.D. Program in Cognitive Science

Social robots are slowly but surely becoming part of our society, from simple vacuum cleaning robots, to entertainment robots, robot pets, robot dolls, therapy robots, and many others. In this talk, Professor Scheutz will contrast the potential benefits of developing and deploying social robots with the potential dangers of having such robots in our lives.

Specifically, Professor Scheutz will show that social robots will have many useful applications as genuine helpers (e.g., in hospitals and elder care settings, in search and rescue missions, in space exploration settings, and many others). Yet, he will also point out the possible dangers of unidirectional emotional bonds that humans will likely form as a result of their interactions with social robots (e.g., leading to emotional dependencies and potential disturbances of social structures).

Throughout the presentation, Professor Scheutz will give examples from recent work in human-robot interaction.

Matthias Scheutz earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Vienna in 1995 and a Joint Ph.D. in Cognitive Science and Computer Science from the Indiana University Bloomington in 1999. Professor Scheutz's current research and teaching interests focus on complex cognitive and affective robots with natural language capabilities for natural human-robot interaction. He will serve as the CS Co-Director of Tufts' new interdisciplinary program in Cognitive and Brain Science. He has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in artificial intelligence, artificial life, agent-based computing, natural language processing, cognitive modeling, robotics, human-robot interaction, and foundations of cognitive science.


Register today!


Admission is free for all Tufts alumni and their guests.