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Philosophy Talk

The Social Lives of Robots

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

Can social intelligence be taught to non-social beings?

Machines might surpass humans in terms of computational intelligence, but when it comes to social intelligence, they’re not very sophisticated. They have difficulty reading subtle cues—like body language, eye gaze, or facial expression—that we pick up on automatically. As robots integrate more and more into human life, how will they figure out the codes for appropriate behavior in different contexts? Can social intelligence be learned via an algorithm? And how do we design socially smart robots to be of special assistance to children, older adults, and people with disabilities? Josh and Ray read the room with Elaine Short from Tufts University, co-author of more than 20 papers on human-robot interaction, including "No fair!! An interaction with a cheating robot." Sunday, February 16 at 11 am.

This episode is the first in a three-part series The Human and the Machine.

Devon Strolovitch studied medieval Judeo-Portuguese manuscripts and earned a PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University before coming to KALW. He is the Senior Producer of Philosophy Talk, and since 2007 has hosted Fog City Blues, the weekly digest of Blues in the Bay Area and beyond.