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In current debates about robots in Denmark and elsewhere, Japan is known for its industrial robots in the 1970s and humanoid robots in the 2000s. Japan is often mentioned as the hub of emerging robot technologies on a global scale. In Japan, discourses proudly proclaim Japan to be Robotto taikoku, the empire of robots, and promote the idea that Japanese people love robots. The 25th aims at providing nuances to this monolithic conception of robots in Japan. Scholars with insight into Japanese society, culture, and robotics will present various perspectives on robots in Japan that address discourses and imaginaries of robots in Japan and elsewhere. Venue: University of Copenhagen Southern Campus (Amager), Room 27.0.09, Building 27, Njalsgade 136, 2300 Copenhagen S. Programme
09:00-09:15: Marie Roesgaard, Associate Professor at University of Copenhagen and Head of Asian Dynamics Initiative: Welcome and introduction
09:15-09:45: Jennifer Robertson, Professor in Anthropology at University of Michigan: “Robot Genders” This presentation explores and interrogates the gendering of humanoid robots manufactured today in Japan for employment in the home, hospital, theatre, and workplace.
09:45-10:15: Elizabeth Jochum, Post.Doc at Aalborg University: “Where were the bots? Mobile Robotics in Japan Post-Fukushima” This lecture explores the response and aftermath of Fukushima and the influence of extreme scenarios on innovative robot technologies, highlighting cutting-edge research into mobile robotics at TEPCO and other research centers worldwide.
10:15-10:45: Marco Nørskov, Assistant Professor at PENSOR, Aarhus University: “Exploring the Uncanny Valley”
10:45-11:15: Coffee break
11:15-11:45: Cathrine Hasse, Professor in Anthropology at Aarhus University: “Artefacts that talk: culture and mediating technology” The talk takes up the notion of artefacts as cultural tools and signs and discusses how socially assistive robots impact professional work life and professional identities as multistable, active change agents.
11:45-12:15: Gunhild Borggreen, Associate Professor at University of Copenhagen: “The Astro Boy effect” The presentation investigates the visuality of Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy) by Tezuka Osamu and discusses what discursive influences this fictional robot figure has on robotics in Japan.
12:15-13:00: Discussion: Is there anything “Japanese” about robots from Japan? Can robots become aware of and respond to different cultural backgrounds when they interact with humans? And if so, how will this affect human-robot interaction in future societies?