Vienna STS Talk - Chihyung JEON

15.01.2018 18:30

The Invisible Robot: A Strained Human-Robot Choreography in a Dementia-Prevention Class

In South Korea, an increasing number of robots are being introduced for interacting with people. These robots are promoted for their effective roles in education, healthcare, or entertainment, but the specific mode of human-robot interaction in those settings has yet to be analyzed. This talk examines the use of Silbot — a “dementia-prevention robot” — in a regional health center in South Korea. On-site observations of the Silbot classes reveal that the efficacy of the robot class relies heavily on the “strained choreography” between the human instructor and the robot. “Strained choreography” refers to the ways in which the instructor works with the robot, attempting to compensate for the robot’s functional limitation and social awkwardness. This tension stems from Silbot’s ambiguous identity—teacher or teaching instrument. In bringing Silbot into the classroom setting, each instructor employs characteristic verbal tones, bodily movements, and other pedagogical tactics. The instructor even talks over the robot, downplaying its interactional capacity. The robot is rendered present or absent, useful or intrusive, depending on the instructor’s need and the students’ attitude. This three-party interaction should be an important element in designing and evaluating the robot programs.


Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung


Seminarraum STS, NIG, 1010 Wien, Universitätsstraße 7/II/6. Stock