Cosmic Anthrobots: Conjecturing Our Mode of Collaboration With Robonauts
Luis de Miranda (University of Edinburgh)
“Robonaut” is the name Nasa gives to humanoid robots. These are designed in order for them to perform tasks in outer space that would be analogous to what a human who be able to do. Like current Mars rovers, these robonauts will be at least partly remote-controlled by an Earth-based human pilot, which means that, in such cases, the working collaboration will be an immensely distant one (interplanetary or intergalactic).
My presentation will conjecture that the human species will become a cosmic species not by travelling through space directly and physically as is often imagined, but by using robotic avatars, projections of our bodies. I call this relational form of exploratory work “cosmic anthrobots”, in order to follow up on my paper “We, Anthrobots: Learning From Human Forms of Interaction to Develop More Plural Social Robotics” (de Miranda et al., 2016).
I will propose a few hypotheses on the mode of being that a cosmic-robotic projection of the human at work means. My analysis will be inspired by current collaboration between human Rover drivers, located on Earth, and the robotic non-humanoid devices they control on Mars (“Spirit” and “Opportunity” for example). I will also perform some comparison with the modes of work in the early systematic human-robotic (anthrobotic) factories in Japan, especially in what regards what I call the “Shizuoka Case”, at Star Micronics (Schodt, 1988) in which human workers complained that they “felt like robots.”