Interview with Adrian David Cheok in Sydney Morning Herald “Robots starting to feel the love”

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Adrian David Cheok was interviewed for an article in Sydney Morning Herald, one of Australia’s leading newspapers. Read article on and an extract is given below.

Researchers believe we will become emotionally attached to robots, even falling in love with them. People already love inanimate objects like cars and smartphones. Is it too far a step to think they will fall deeper for something that interacts back?
“Fantastic!” says Adrian Cheok, of Japan’s Keoi University’s mixed reality lab, when told of the Paro study. Professor Cheok, from Adelaide, is at the forefront of the emerging academic field of Lovotics, or love and robotics.
Cheok believes the increasing complexity of robots means they will have to understand emotion. With social robots that may be with you 24 hours a day, he says it is “very natural” people will want to feel affection for the machine. A care-giver robot will need to understand emotion to do its job, and he says it would be a simple step for the robot to express emotion. “Within a matter of years we’re going to have robots which will effectively be able to detect emotion and display it, and also learn from their environment,” he says.
The rather spooky breakthrough came when artificial intelligence researchers realised they did not need to create artificial life. All they needed to do was mimic life, which makes mirror neurons – the basis of empathy – fire in the brain. “If you have a robot cat or robot human and it looks happy or sad, mirror neurons will be triggered at the subconscious level, and at that level we don’t know if the object is alive or not, we can still feel empathy,” Cheok says. “We can’t really tell the difference if the robot is really feeling the emotion or not and ultimately it doesn’t matter. Even for humans we don’t know whether a person’s happy or sad.” He argues if a robot emulates life, for all intents and purposes it is alive.
Psychologist Amanda Gordon, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Canberra, is sceptical. “It’s not emotional, it’s evoking the emotion in the receiver,” she says. ”That seal isn’t feeling anything. It’s not happy or sad or pleased to see you.”
She says the risk is that people fall for computer programs instead of a real relationship. “Then you’re limiting yourself. You’re not really interacting with another. Real-life relationships are growth-ful, you develop in response to them. They challenge you to do things differently.”
Cheok’s research shows 60 per cent of people could love a robot. “I think people fundamentally have a desire, a need to be loved, or at least cared for,” he says. “I think it’s so strong that we can probably suspend belief to have a loving relationship with a robot.”
Probably the most advanced android in the world is the Geminoid robot clone of its creator Hiroshi Ishiguro, director of the Intelligent Robotics lab at Osaka University. Professor Ishiguro says our bodies are always moving, so he programmed that realistic motion into his creation along with natural facial expressions.
The one thing it does not do is age, which means 49-year-old Ishiguro is constantly confronted with his 41-year-old face. “I’m getting old and the android doesn’t,” he says. ”People are always watching the android and that means the android has my identity.” So he has had plastic surgery – at $10,000, he says it is cheaper than $30,000 to build a new head.
Robots can help kids with autism who do not relate to humans. Ishiguro is working with the Danish government to see how his Telenoid robots can aid the elderly.
Moyle says she has had inquiries from throughout Australia about Paro. A New Zealand study showed dementia victims interacted with a Paro more than a living dog.
“There are a lot of possible negative things [that artificial intelligence and robots could lead to],” Cheok says, “and we should be wary as we move along. We have to make sure we try to adjust. But in general I think the virtual love for the characters in your phone or screen or soon robots is ultimately increasing human happiness, and that’s a good thing for humanity.”

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New project on Molecular gastronomy, Neuroscience, and Digital Smell. The Second Project Meeting at Mugaritz with Chef Andoni the Top 3 Chef in the World and Luis Castellanos famous Spanish Neuroscientist. We are collaborating with Koki Tsubouchi of Chatperf in Japan also.

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Meeting and Presentation of Digital Taste and Smell to Andoni Luis Aduriz, Number 3 chef in the world

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Meeting and Presentation of Digital Taste and Smell to Andoni Luis Aduriz, Number 3 chef in the world at Mugaritz the number 4 restaurant in the world with Luis Castellanos CEO of Jardin de Junio


I had the great pleasure to be invited to a meeting with Andoni Luis Aduriz, Number 3 chef in the world and Luis Castellanos CEO of Jardin de Junio. They wanted me to present our work in digital augmented taste and smell.


The restaurant is in a beautiful mountainous area around San Sebastián. At first we had lunch and discussions together. The lunch was simple yet so delicious. Tomato with olive oil and salt, baby lettuce, and lamb chops. I didn’t realize the lettuce was a sneak preview of the incredible dinner.



Next I gave a presentation on our research on multi-sensory mixed reality and I gave some demonstrations, such as the electric taste machine. I was really happy and excited that Chef Andoni was pleased and wants to work together on a project.

Next we watched a piano concert at the restaurant, and at next the most amazing dinner of my life. Andoni gave us a tour of the kitchens. It was incredible to see more than 70 staff prepare the dishes for only a small group of patrons, maybe 40 or 50. Each table at the dinner is given different dishes, to suit the mood and personality of the patrons. It is an individualized feast.

There were more than 20 courses at the dinner. It was an explosion of amazing tastes, textures, visions. The dishes were an incredible combination of traditional and modernist / molecular cuisine. For example what I thought were noodles were made from some kind of beef marrow. What looked like a chocolate sweet was made from duck’s blood. At first my brain forced me to think it was chocolate, because of the visual dominance, and next I could taste savory.

The whole dinner went on for hours and hours, accompanied by incredible local wines also. At the end of the night we were saturated and exhausted. It was one of the most incredible times of my life.



One ring to hug them all: RingU gives your partner a squeeze over the net

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One ring to hug them all: RingU gives your partner a squeeze over the net


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Designing Interactive Paper-Craft Systems with Selective Inductive Power Transmission

Designing Interactive Paper-Craft Systems with Selective Inductive Power Transmission

AmbiKraf Byobu: Merging Technology with Traditional Craft

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AmbiKraf Byobu: Merging Technology with Traditional Craft

Reading List for ADC Lab

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I made a reading list for my Master and Ph.D students in the area of empathy and experience communication. Do you have more suggestions? If so please feedback.

Connecting Families: An Introduction

C Neustaedter, S Harrison, A Sellen – Connecting Families – Springer
26 days ago – Family life is complex and dynamic. It forms a core part of our existence.
Underpinning family life, is family connection: how families not just communicate with each
other, but how they share their lives and routines, how they engage in social touch, and …


Designing for collocated couples

S Branham, S Harrison – Connecting Families, 2012 – Springer
26 days ago – Though the design of technologies for couples has been thriving for well over
a decade now, the products made for and the needs of couples examined in HCI research
are surprisingly narrow. Overwhelmingly they are for partners at a distance and …


Textile Interfaces: Embroidered Jog-Wheel, Beaded Tilt Sensor, Twisted Pair Ribbon, and Sound Sequins

C Zeagler, S Gilliland, H Profita… – … (ISWC), 2012 16th …, 2012 –
67 days ago – Abstract Electronic textiles (or e-textiles) attempt to integrate electronics and
computing into fabric. In our efforts to create new e-textile interfaces and construction
techniques for our Electronic Textile Interface Swatch Book (an e-textile toolkit), we have …


Have We Achieved the Ultimate Wearable Computer?

BH Thomas – … (ISWC), 2012 16th International Symposium on, 2012 –
72 days ago – Abstract This paper provides a provocative view of wearable computer
research over the years, starting with the first IEEE International Symposium on Wearable
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I’ll knock you when I’m ready…: reflecting on media richness beyond bandwidth and imitation

MK Rasmussen, N Lehoux, I Ocnarescu… – Proceedings of the …, 2012 –
88 days ago – Abstract Following the research field of Computer Mediated Communication
(CMC), we explore and expand upon the notion of media richness. We consider the term
outside its ordinary domain of conventional communication mediums, such as email, …


Expanding the design space for intimacy: supporting mutual reflection for local partners

SM Branham, SH Harrison, T Hirsch – Proceedings of the Designing …, 2012 –
88 days ago – Abstract The design space for intimate partners has largely been populated
with technologies that support distant partners via abstracted presence. We seek to expand
the design space to include a wider range of potential users and designs. To this end, we …


It’s neat to feel the heat: how can we hold hands at a distance?

D Gooch, L Watts – Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference …, 2012 –
121 days ago – Abstract There is a growing body of work in HCI on the design of
communication technologies to help support long distance relationships. We build upon this
work by presenting three different prototypes based on hand holding. This distinguishes …

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Cooking together: a digital ethnography

J Paay, J Kjeldskov, MB Skov, K O’Hara – Proceedings of the 2012 ACM …, 2012 –
121 days ago – Abstract Cooking together is an important part of everyday life, a social event
in which people enhance their relationships through shared stories and swapping ideas on
food preparation. We present a new methodology for studying human interaction to inform …

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Feelybean: communicating touch over distance

D Kontaris, D Harrison, EE Patsoule, S Zhuang… – Proceedings of the …, 2012 –
124 days ago – Abstract Increasingly, due to work or study reasons, many couples find
themselves living apart, in different cities or even countries, experiencing the challenges of a
long distance relationship. Much research has been conducted into helping couples …

Food and interaction design: designing for food in everyday life

R Comber, E Ganglbauer, JH Choi… – Proceedings of the …, 2012 –
124 days ago – Abstract Food and interaction design presents an interesting challenge to the
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P Lévy, S Kuenen, K Overbeeke, T Uchiyama… –
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Laying the table for HCI: uncovering ecologies of domestic food consumption

A Hupfeld, T Rodden – Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference …, 2012 –
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mentally, and socially. Unsurprisingly then, the importance of food to our lives has long been
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Food for Talk: Phototalk in the Context of Sharing a Meal

K O’Hara, J Helmes, A Sellen, R Harper… – Human–Computer …, 2012 – Taylor & Francis
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