University debate will ask if we can be friends with robots
COULD you make friends with a robot?
Experts from Plymouth University's psychology and robotics departments will be debating whether robots could be companions for humans.
The discussion at the university's Peninsula Arts Gallery on Thursday, December 6 is free and open to the public.
Prof Susan Denham, head of Plymouth University's Cognition Institute, said that over millions of years we humans have evolved to socially interact with each other.
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But the skill at interpreting social signals has served us so well that we keep doing it – even with machines.
Prof Tony Belpaeme, who is co-ordinating a pan-European project to develop a robot that will be a companion and teacher for sick children, will debate with Dr Tim Auburn, deputy head of the university's School of Psychology.
They will consider questions such as: Should we allow people to bond with robots?
What about children, or adults with dementia who may not realise the limitations of the machine? Can robots substitute for human social interaction?
The debate starts at 6pm and is expected to finish at 7pm.