Towards a Sociological Understanding of Robots as Companions


Oost, Ellen van and Reed, Darren (2011) Towards a Sociological Understanding of Robots as Companions. In: Maarten H. Lamers & Fons J. Verbeek (Eds.), Human-Robot Personal Relationships. Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, 59 . Springer, Berlin, Germany, pp. 11-18. ISBN 9783642193859

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Abstract:While Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) have, in the past, primarily mediated or facilitated emotional bonding between humans, contemporary robot technologies are increasingly making the bond between human and robots the core issue. Thinking of robots as companions is not only a development that opens up huge potential for new applications, it also raises social and ethical issues. In this paper we will argue that current conceptions of human-robot companionship are primarily rooted in cognitive psychological traditions and provide important, yet limited understanding of the companion relationship. Elaborating on a sociological perspective on the appropriation of new technology, we will argue for a richer understanding of companionship that takes the situatedness (in location, network and time) of the use-context into account.
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Copyright:© 2011 Springer
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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