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Social robots, scientists and the Anthropology of the Post-Human: exploring the entanglements of the social robot industry and the shaping of anthropology, beyond the human. 
Raluca Bianca Roman (Queen's University Belfast)
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Thursday 9 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

Looking at the development of the social robot industry across the world, this panel seeks to address some of the most fundamental questions concerning human/AI relations connected to understanding of being 'human', of the 'social' and the ensuing development of an anthropology of the post-human.

Long Abstract:

Social robots pose novel and specific questions concerning the ways in which anthropologists can analyse the shifting notions of the 'social', of 'personhood', of 'kinship', 'intimacy' and 'care'. They also invite us to re-think the discipline, beyond a human-centric focus. This panel, therefore, seeks to engage with the possibility of developing an anthropology of the post-human, by exploring the role of social robots at the intersection of the creator-consumer nexus.

More specifically, looking at the development of the social robot industry across the world (including the development of the sex robot industry), the overarching aim of this panel is thus to address some of the most fundamental issues concerning human/technology relations as it pertains to the role of ethnography within it: Who are the actors/agents involved in the development of the social robot industry? What are the moral and ideological issues embedded within the creation, marketing and consumption of 'social robots'? What makes a robot ‘social’ and what do human-robot connections bring to our understanding of being ‘human’? Finally, what are the methodological opportunities and challenges in the anthropological study of human-robot relations?

Contributions that seek to address these questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives are invited, with a particular focus on those based ethnographic fieldwork with or within the social robot industry. Addressing the intersection of Anthropology and Computer Science, papers grounded in the interdisciplinary collaboration of anthropologists, computer scientists and theoretical physicists are especially welcome.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -