Speaker: Professor Tony Belpaeme, Ghent University and the University of Plymouth
Title: "Social robots: the ultimate test for AI and robotics"
Abstract: While robots have traditionally been used to automate physical labour and have minimal interaction with people, social robots are designed to engage us using the same channels we use when interacting with each other. There is a fair bit of excitement around the potential of social robots, and recent years have seen a number of promising applications, ranging from healthcare, assisted living, customer service to education. However, building an autonomous social robot capable of keeping an interaction going for more than a few minutes is still a formidable challenge. This talk will show experimental results of the efficacy of social robots in therapy and education, and will speculate on how we can move forward with building increasing social autonomy, a challenge which is likely to involve the entire artificial intelligence department.
Bio: Tony Belpaeme is Professor at Ghent University and Professor in Robotics and Cognitive Systems at the University of Plymouth, UK. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and currently leads a team studying cognitive robotics and human-robot interaction. Recently, he coordinated the H2020 L2TOR project, studying how robots can be used to support children with learning a second language, and coordinated the FP7 ALIZ-E project, which studied long-term human-robot interaction and its use in paediatric applications. He worked on the FP7 DREAM project, studying how robots can be used to support Autism Spectrum Disorder therapy. Starting from the premise that intelligence is rooted in social interaction, Belpaeme and his research team try to further the science and technology behind artificial intelligence and social human-robot interaction. This results in a spectrum of results, from theoretical insights to practical applications.