Image: Joe Shlabotnik
AISB21 will take place on Zoom over three days: 7, 8, and 9 April 2021 (times below are BST).
Daily schedules of talks and events
n.b. Abbreviations in the outline schedule below refer to individual symposia, which are listed after the table.
|Weds 7 April||Thurs 8 April||Fri 9 April|
|12:45-13:00||opening remarks||opening remarks||opening remarks|
R&R day 2
R&R day 2
R&R day 2
R&R day 2
|17:00-18:00||Plenary talk: |
Prof Sophie Scott
Prof Peter Robinson
|Plenary talk: |
Dr Sabine Hauert
Links to symposia
Date: Wednesday 7 April
Speaker: Prof Sophie Scott, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL
Title: The science of laughter
Abstract: In this talk I will explore the evolutionary history of laughter, it’s role as an emotional expression and its use in communication and emotion regulation. I will address the neural basis of laughter perception and production, and explore aspects of its acoustics and how this relates to the ways it is produced. Laughter is an emotional expression, but we use to express far more than just a sense of amusement: laughter is a social emotion and its more complex roles seem to relate to its social use.
About the speaker: Professor Sophie Scott is a cognitive neuroscientist, interested in the neurobiology of human vocal behaviour with an emphasis on speech, voice and laughter. She is also the Director of UCL’s Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience.
Date: Thursday 8 April
Speaker: Prof Peter Robinson, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory
Title: Computation of emotions
Abstract: The importance of emotional expression as part of human communication has been understood since the seventeenth century, and has been explored scientifically since Charles Darwin and others in the nineteenth century. Recent advances in Psychology have greatly improved our understanding of the role of affect in communication, perception, decision-making, attention and memory. At the same time, advances in technology mean that it is becoming possible for machines to sense, analyse and express emotions. We can now consider how these advances relate to each other and how they can be brought together to influence future research in perception, attention, learning, memory, communication, decision-making and other applications.
This talk will survey recent advances in theories of emotion and affect, their embodiment in computational systems, the implications for general communications, and broader applications. The combination of new results in psychology with new techniques of computation on new technologies will enable new applications in commerce, education, entertainment, security, therapy and everyday life. However, there are important issues of privacy and personal expression that must also be considered.
About the speaker: Peter Robinson is Professor of Computer Technology in the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in England, where he leads work on computer graphics and interaction. Professor Robinson’s research concerns problems at the boundary between people and computers. This involves investigating new technologies to enhance communication between computers and their users, and new applications to exploit these technologies. The main focus for this is human-computer interaction, where he has been leading work for some years on the use of video and paper as part of the user interface. With rapid advances in key computing technologies and the heightened user expectation of computers, the development of socially and emotionally adept technologies is becoming a necessity. He has led investigations of the inference of people’s mental states from facial expressions, vocal nuances, body posture and gesture, and other physiological signals, and also considered the expression of emotions by robots and cartoon avatars.
Date: Friday 9 April
Speaker: Dr Sabine Hauert, Department of Engineering Mathematics, Robotics Laboratory, University of Bristol
Title: Swarms for people
Abstract: As tiny robots become individually more sophisticated, and larger robots easier to mass produce, a breakdown of conventional disciplinary silos is enabling swarm engineering to be adopted across scales and applications, from nanomedicine to treat cancer, to cm-sized robots for large-scale environmental monitoring or intralogistics. This convergence of capabilities is facilitating the transfer of lessons learned from one scale to the other. Cm-sized robots that work in the 1000s may operate in a way similar to reaction-diffusion systems at the nanoscale, while sophisticated microrobots may have individual capabilities that allow them to achieve swarm behaviour reminiscent of larger robots with memory, computation, and communication. Although the physics of these systems are fundamentally different, much of their emergent swarm behaviours can be abstracted to their ability to move and react to their local environment. This presents an opportunity to build a unified framework for the engineering of swarms across scales that makes use of machine learning to automatically discover suitable agent designs and behaviours, digital twins to seamlessly move between the digital and physical world, and user studies to explore how to make swarms safe and trustworthy. Such a framework would push the envelope of swarm capabilities, towards making swarms for people.
About the speaker: Dr Sabine Hauert is Associate Professor (Reader) of Swarm Engineering at the University of Bristol and Bristol Robotics Laboratory. Before joining UoB, she was a Human Frontier Science Program Cross-Disciplinary Fellow at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, and PhD student at EPFL. Her expertise is in engineering swarms across scales, from nanoparticles for cancer treatment, to robots for logistics. Central to her work is the use of bioinspiration and machine learning to engineer desired swarm behaviours. In the past 5 years her work has been published in Science Robotics, Science Advances, Trends in Biotechnology, Nano Today, Advanced Intelligent Systems, Frontiers in Robotics and AI, and RA-L/ICRA/IROS. She leads a team of 15 PhD students and postdocs, and receives funding from EU H2020 , Cancer Research UK, HFSP, and EPSRC. She is also Co-founder of AIhub.org, and Robohub.org, non-profits dedicated to connecting the robotics and AI communities to the world. The websites receive over one million pageviews per year, and have 30k followers on social media. As an expert in science communication with 10 years of experience, Sabine is often invited to discuss the future of robotics and AI, including in the journals Science and Nature, and at the Royal Society. Her work has been featured in mainstream media including BBC, CNN, The Guardian, The Economist, TEDx, WIRED, and New Scientist.