Introduction to the Special Issue on Psychological Benchmarks of Human–Robot Interaction

2007 Interaction Studies  
The idea for this special issue took shape during discussions on the prospects for using technology to simulate nature and, in particular, the human form. Could it be possible to devise an artificial human being? The computer scientist and robotic engineer, with such ambitions, can reply: "Sure, just give us major funding, say a half billion dollars, and 30 years, and we'll show you how. " The skeptic can reply, "You're kidding, right?" Along these lines, debates have raged in the philosophy of
more » ... mind and cognitive science on whether anything like present day computers could implement a conscious mind, one that could experience what it's like to be human. Moreover, because it is unclear even what makes us conscious, this problem is likely to remain a hard one for years to come. Nevertheless, we can reframe what a human being is from the standpoint of human attribution. If the technologist insists that it will eventually be possible to build an artificial human being, it is important to determine what would count as one in our own estimation, taking a view from the outside. The question then becomes: What are the benchmarks -categories of interaction that capture fundamental aspects of human life -by which we could measure progress toward this goal? Getting the right set of benchmarks then becomes critical for the emerging field of human-robot interaction (HRI). The benchmarks can help establish the questions the field asks in setting its research agenda, determining where funding is directed, and shaping how graduate students are educated. The right set of benchmarks will also be important to other disciplines, such as comparative psychology, and to meeting the long-term needs of society in areas such as nursing, eldercare, and social work. To these ends, Peter H. Kahn, Jr. and his colleagues proposed six benchmarks in a paper he showed Kerstin Dautenhahn, who was then organizing the 15th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication Interaction Studies 8:3 (2007) ,
doi:10.1075/is.8.3.02mac fatcat:my4qh43abfgczkcbkdci4b7qjy