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Aleks Krotoski discovers how a face changes a robot from a simple machine to a social being, and asks how we will be affected by devices that look us in the eye and smile at us.

The human face is quintessential part of our identity - crucial for communication, expressing emotion and understanding our place in the world.

So what happens when that most human of interfaces is placed over what boils down to a cluster of motors and a few lines of code? Aleks Krotoski explores how we will be psychologically affected by machines that can look us in the eye and smile back at us.

Producer: Elizabeth Ann Duffy.

Available now

29 minutes

Last on

Fri 27 Mar 2020 23:25


Tony Belpaeme

Tony Belpaeme
Tony Belpaeme is Professor at Ghent University and Professor of Cognitive Systems and Robotics at Plymouth University. He is a member of IDLab – imecat Ghent and is associated with the Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems at Plymouth.  
He talks to us about the power of adding faces to robots, how they can influence our behaviour for the better and tell us more about ourselves as human beings.

Kate Darling

Kate Darling
Dr. Kate Darling is a Research Specialist at the MIT Media Lab and a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center. Her interest is in how technology intersects with society.
She discusses how humans react psychologically to a robot with a face, and how we should be designing robots to supplement human ability rather than simply recreating ourselves.

Malcolm Knight

Malcolm Knight

Malcolm Knight is the founder and executive director of The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre and author of Mask Praxis: Theories and Practices of The Mask in Modern Drama and a professional mask-maker with 50 years experience.

He tells us how masks have been part of human civilisation from our earliest history, and how the design of each face holds a particular role, and power, within society.

Wendy Rogers

Wendy Rogers

Wendy A. Rogers, Ph.D., is the Shahid and Ann Carlson Khan Professor of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Her primary appointment is in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health.  She also has an appointment in the Educational Psychology Department and is an affiliate faculty member of the Beckman Institute and the Illinois Informatics Institute and  is Director of the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory.

She shares findings from her research into how older people feel about the potential of having robots supporting them in their day to day lives.

Nadia Thalmann

Nadia Thalmann
Professor Nadia Magnenat Thalmann is an eminent computer graphics scientist who is the founder and head of MIRALab at the University of Geneva and currently serves as the Director of the Institute for Media Innovation (IMI) in Singapore at Nanyang Technological University.

She has pioneered research into virtual humans over the last 30 years, and tells us what she has learned from her robot doppelganger Nadine, one of the most realistic humanoid robots in the world.



  • Mon 5 Mar 2018 16:30
  • Fri 27 Mar 2020 23:25

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