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Panel Discussion

"Sharing life with Social Robots and Virtual Humans, is it our future?" 

Chaired by Prof Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, NTU, Singapore & MIRALab, University of Geneva, Switzerland 

With the participation of Prof Dieter Fellner, TU Darmstadt, Germany 
A/Prof Mark Sagar, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Prof Daniel Thalmann, NTU, Singapore 
Prof Jian Jun Zhang, Bournemouth University, UK and
Prof Junfeng Yao, Xiamen University, China

Robots are not new. From the antiquity to today, humans have always try to have mechanical devices as animals, clocks or human like figures. The first digital robot was invented in 1954 and its role was to lift pieces of hot metal. Since then, all kind of robots have been developed and used, particularly in dangerous situations. However, more recently, virtual characters, and humanoids have been developed to play an important social role with elderly or children as companions. These social robots will be able to analyze the situation where they are, answer in an appropriate way, take actions, and over time, be more and more conscious and able to take decisions. This looks very positive as aging societies can benefit from them.

The questions that will be discussed among panelists are the following ones:

  1. What is still to be done in research to make social robots acceptable?
  2. What is missing and how long it will take?
  3. Do you think that social robots will invade our life as social companions?
  4. For what situations will be they used?
  5. What are the dangers of having social robots as companions? What can be done to prevent these dangers?
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