• Kasper Koefoed Larsen
  • Amanda Lærke Laubjerg
  • Anne Leth Klærke-Olesen
4. term, Techno-Anthropology, Master (Master Programme)
This project investigates, on the basis of fieldwork carried out in Tokyo, the visions and
development of robots with artificial intelligence (AI) in Japan. Investigating the physical
perspectives of robot development in Japan has been done extensively by Western scholars, but
this project contributes insights to the perspectives which arise when robots are given
emotional intelligence. We do this by investigating how and why the Japanese AI companies
and knowledge institutes develop AI robots as they do and with what visions for the future
relationship between humans and machines. This development in Japan is often portrayed as
“crazy” in the West, but our study shows that there are serious and well considered reflections
and considerations that underlie the development of the AI robots which are to live together
with humans in the future. The project draws on Sheila Jasanoff and her concept of
sociotechnical imaginaries and uses this to show how AI robots are envisioned as partners. We
further unfold this by showing how assumptions and conceptions of Japanese consumers take
part in shaping the imaginary of AI robots as partners. Subsequently, the project illuminates
how this imaginary is constituted through the materialisation of personality, gender, humour
and love in AI robots. On the basis hereof, we discuss what AI robots as partners become and
how this imaginary challenges our ways of thinking about human-machine relations. The study
concludes that it is necessary to consider the importance of emotional life humans have in our
relation to things, and unfolds by drawing on Haraway, that the imaginary of having AI robots
as partners is not problem-free and that it raises questions of human-machine relations as AI
robots become in the interaction and through the conceptions the developers have. However,
our study concludes that the imaginary of AI robots as partners is one way to address complex
entities and how we ought to live with machines in the future when they are intelligent.
Publication date1 Jun 2018
Number of pages89
ID: 280250406