According to Maartje de Graaf who recently earned her PhD from the University of Twente, a ‘social robot’ with an overly human appearance creates an unrealistic sense of expectation for most Dutch people. They feel that a robot should not resemble a human being and that the distinction between human and robot needs to remain clear, unlike Japanese humanoid robots that attempt to resemble humans.
De Graaf’s research reveals that people quickly treat robots as human objects after working or living with them for only a short while. “Although most people would reasonably agree that robots are programmed machines that only simulate social behaviour, the same people seem to ‘forget’ this while interacting with these machines, treating the robot as a social other fellow human being and even care for it as they would one of their own family members.”
De Graaf soon plans to investigate whether and how the relationships some users are willing to establish with social robots can contribute to the psychological well-being of those users, often with the elderly mentioned as a target group.
(Link: phys.org, screenshot from the video. Video: YouTube / Smart Homes)
Tags: behaviour, robots
In 1962 Dutch cinema’s golden child Bert Haanstra visited the zoo of Amsterdam, Artis, during a sun-filled period and filmed the visitors as they were laughing, yawning, scratching themselves, chatting and taking naps. Then he filmed animals doing the same thing and edited the result to contrast the two groups and perhaps to say “we are not that different, you and I”.
The result seems comedic, making fun of the little people that are closer to the animals that they themselves seem to believe. The film itself is not too clear about which position its maker chooses. The editing and some of the videography is clearly done for comedic effect (ostriches’ heads popping up, the walk of the penguin), but the powerful walk of the tiger and the jazz music by Pim Jacobs do not fit the label ‘comedy’.
American broadcaster NPR seems to like the humane explanation the best:
Magically, [the film] makes the cages, the trenches, the walls disappear, and what you get is a real zoo — a mix-it-up porridge of animal life, where all the animals, the mischievous little boys, the oh-so-shy monkey, the proud baboon, the wide-eyed girl and the yawning lady trade moods, glances, worlds — our differences melt into little moments of us being like them, them being like us.
The name Artis was originally the zoo’s nickname. It came from a text written over the gates, “Natura Artis Magistra” (meaning “Nature is the teacher of art”). You can watch the video on the NPR page or by buying the complete works DVD set.
Thanks Fred Yoder for the tip.
(Photo: screenshot of the documentary)
Tags: Artis, behaviour, Bert Haanstra, documentaries, people, zoos
A remarkable verdict from a disciplinary court: a lawyer was found to have acted without the dignity proper to his profession when he kissed a friend on the cheek in greeting while representing her.
De Pers reports that the unnamed lawyer greeted the friend at a police station in 2008, where an assistant prosecutor took offence and filed charges for ‘unseemly behaviour’. Two weeks ago the Amsterdamse Raad van Discipline (Amsterdam Disciplinary Court) agreed with the assistant prosecutor.
Apart from the fact that there are gradations of familiarity, and that kissing somebody on the cheek at the police station is perhaps not the same thing as walking around a court room in bathroom slippers, there is also a whiff of sexism attached to this verdict. That is to say, I cannot remember hearing of a similar verdict regarding shaking hands, which is how most men greet each other in this country.
The lawyer has received a warning.
(Link: Martin Wisse, second day in a row! Photo by Steve Punter, some rights reserved.)
Tags: behaviour, courts, discipline, judges, lawyers, mores, prosecutors