• Julie Rafn Abildgaard
4. Term, Information Architecture, Master (Master Programme)
In the field of human-robot-interaction (HRI), geminoid research is still a relatively new area, and the conducted studies within this field have either had a predominantly pragmatic focus or tested a hypothesis called the uncanny valley. This theory assumes that people will react with fear or disgust when they are exposed to a robot, whose appearance and behavior is almost similar to humans, but still not a perfect simulation.
As a supplement to previous research, this master thesis will approach geminoid research from a humanities perspective, using theories of categorization, narratology, and rhetorical notion of ethos, in order to interpret the mental and emotional reactions from the test persons who have participated in our geminoid experiments. I have collected empirical data from 162 respondents across three setups. I demonstrate how applying theories from the humanities onto HRI research can be a productive method, using an abductive approach to the formation of hypotheses. In order to establish a solid ground for future research, I have gathered and analyzed a large number of observations of people meeting the geminoid for the first time. These analyses aim to explain the rationale and deliberation found in the accounts of the test persons.
The aim of this thesis is to analyze how people react to their first meeting with a geminoid through theories developed in the humanities, and thereby providing a broader theoretical approach to geminoid research. Based on basic level theory and classification hierarchies, the thesis will develop a new method to identify how people categorize an artifact that is extremely unfamiliar to them. I will introduce a hierarchical scheme that helps illuminate why the geminoid is so difficult to categorize. The scheme will also function as a guideline in order to give researchers a tool that can be used in the process of naming the geminoid, as well as making decisions regarding the role that the geminoid may take up, seen through the eyes of the people exposed to it. Furthermore, the thesis will interpret how test persons uncover personal and societal values by telling fragments of narratives, as they recount their meeting with the geminoid. In continuation of this, I examine how test persons attribute ethos to the geminoid. This analysis leads to the novel definition of geminoid ethos that seeks to explain personal attitudes towards the geminoid.
All these analyses will include interpretations, focusing on whether there are gender related differences between the male and female respondents.
The thesis will unfold a broader focus in the geminoid research that is going on in Japan and Denmark.
Publication date31 May 2012
Number of pages108


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