Boundary-Crossing Robots

Kristiina Jokinen


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Kristiina with robot at home

Boundary-Crossing Robots

The concept of Boundary-Crossing Robots (BCRs) is a new metaphor for designing social robots and their interaction with humans.

It has been argued that social agents introduce a novel concept of Automated Social Presence, which concerns the extent to which technology makes customers feel the presence of another social entity. The concept of Boundary-Crossing Robot takes the notion of presence even further, by suggesting that social robots can be regarded as agents which challenge the prototypical categorisation of actors in the world in two ways. First, by resembling human agents they cross the border between agents and non-agents (broaching philosophical questions of volition, intention, identity etc.). Second, by functioning in work situations to organise, assist, monitor and attend several people and processes simultaneously, they cross the border between a tool and a co-worker (broaching issues of human capability and its extension by technological means).

In future society, envisaged as Society 5.0 where inanimate objects are connected and can communicate with each other, BCRs add a new dimension for human interaction and call for new solutions in decision making and service design. Consequently, we believe that the best strategy to analyse affective social robot interactions and assess their functionality for various service domains is to experiment with various types of human-robot interactive applications from the point of view of practical work. To get a better understanding of the issues related to BCRs and their role in Society 5.0, it is important to explore interactive applications in everyday life situations and study their usefulness and applicability to practical problems. In this way, it is possible to extend the current state of the art in social robotics into various service contexts where novel technologies such as robotics, AI and cloud services can provide a real change and support greater operational efficiency. This can direct research and development of social robotics towards a society that is good for all.