Sociality, Robots, and Children with Autism Spectrum Conditions

On Monday, Nvember 14, at 4:00 Kathleen Richardson of University College London, will present “Challenging Sociality? Humanoid Robots and Their Therapeutic Use amongst Children with Autism Spectrum Conditions” in 1014 Tisch Hall.

Social interaction and communication are central features of human sociality, but can machines be social? And what of those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)? What kinds of lifeworlds emerge for those who struggle to grasp the complexity of social interaction? How do these different ontologies influence identity, language, and thought?

This talk examines the making of therapeutic robots for the treatment of those with ASD. The research is based on fieldwork in laboratories that design and test socially assistive robots and in a school for children with autism spectrum conditions. Do these robotic artefacts and persons suggest a reassessment of the social? Dr. Richardson will explore how issues of sociality and asociality are addressed and interrogated by roboticists who make therapeutic robots and those with ASD who use and interact with them.

This lecture is sponsored by Science, Technology, Medicine & Society (STeMS).

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