The Challenge of Being Self-Aware When Building Robots for Everyday Worlds
Building robots to serve the needs of everyday life is described as a twofold challenge. Firstly, robotics, engineering, and computer science need new theories and concepts. Secondly, new methods and forms of collaboration are required. The article argues that the “wicked” nature of everyday worlds implies another, seemingly mundane challenge for roboticists: to become more self-aware about their own actions (Sect. 1). This includes a critical reflection on the goals of research and development, when dealing with humans (Sect. 2). Furthermore, there are two kinds of rather implicit methods roboticists use to make their machine work in everyday worlds, that should be considered more explicitly: On the one hand, the researcher’s own everyday knowledge becomes an ambivalent resource for making decisions (Sect. 3.1). On the other hand, roboticists themselves often engage in creating expectations and desirable scenarios by staging robot behavior (Sect. 3.2). The article concludes not to wipe out these seemingly mundane practices, but rather to use their marginalization as a starting point for a reflective methodology of technical support systems (Sect. 4).
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