Delft University of Technology

T U DelftWow, I got a position at the Delft University of Technology at the Interactive Intelligence group. I will work on the 4TU Pride & Prejudice project. We aim to use Artificial Social Agents (ASA), such as chatbots, virtual agents or social robots, to support people who struggle in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and who may suffer from welfare diseases, such as diabetes. We support these people and their social group with ASAs to reduce prejudice and increase pride. For example, a diabetic is upset with a friend who did not accommodate their specific diet at a party, while the friend is embarrassed because they forgot the diet. An ASA can obtain information from a patient and redistribute it strategically in a social group, taking into account what information can and should (not) be shared. In the example, the friend would, without shame, ask the ASA all about the diet and could proudly accommodate the patient’s dietary needs. The patient would be pleased that their diet is accommodated at the party without having to publicly ask for it.

Cool to start a new project at a new university, but I will miss Twente and the people there…

Conference Intelligent Virtual Agents – Flipper 2.0

Flipper 2.0 at IVAFlipper 2.0 aims to help developers of embodied conversational agents (ECAs) quickly and flexibly create dialogues. Jelte van Waterschoot presented our paper on Flipper at the Internation Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents in Sydney Australia.

IVA2018 best paper awardDuring the conference I organised a workshop on methodology. At the conference we had great keynotes by, amongst others, Hiroshi Ishiguro and Mark Sagar. Especially Mark’s talk was facinating, with a live demo of his virtual baby. Mind blowing to see the detail and posibilities of the neural network controlling the ‘baby’. To finish the conference even more positive for us: we were awarded a best paper award during the conference diner.

The Council of Coaches in Twente

Engineers take pride in their workVisiting European research project partners is great: seeing the places, trying the food, meeting the people. It is only fair to return the favour from time to time. In the Council of Coaches project many partners are from Twente, so it makes a lot of sense (less people traveling) to have meetings in Twente. We were the hosts for two technical integration meetings, April 23-26 and October 8-12. We had guests from the University of Dundee in the UK, the Sorbonne University in France, the Polytechnic University Valencia in Spain, and the Danish Board of Technology Foundation.

Continue reading “The Council of Coaches in Twente”

“Robots but social ones, right…?”

robot drawingWorking in science is awesome but sometimes, often at a party, it can be challenging to explain what it is that I do. I studied psychology and now work with, you know… “robots but social ones” as someone put it. Roughly two groups of people ask about my work and job, 1) those who are very interested in novel technology and psychology and 2) those who are scared this new technology is dangerous and “might steal their job”. I love talking about my job so always 1) explain as much as people find interesting and 2) reassure that robotic overlords won’t be happening soon (and that they probably will have an off-switch). In this post you can read what I might say if you ask me at a party “so you work with robots, right…?”

Continue reading ““Robots but social ones, right…?””

Council of Coaches – A new project

A new year is approaching and a new project appears: Council of Coaches! In this European Horizon 2020 Project we will look at virtual coaching. We will create an autonomous council of multiple virtual coaches that can assist people in achieving their health goals. These coaches will discuss the health situation of the user with each other and the user. In this way we hope to be able to positively influence the lifestyle of the user in a fun and natural manner.

Continue reading “Council of Coaches – A new project”

You stole with a robot, now what?

Last summer we accidentally stole something with a robot” seems more like the tag-line for a cheesy science fiction movie than a starting point for an academic paper. Yet it was one of the events that we describe in our latest paper titled “Telepresence Robots in the Wide Wild World” which is accepted at the CHI 2017 Ethical Encounters workshop. Congratulations to my co-authors: Robby van Delden and Jered Vroon.

Right, let’s first look at the “crime” and then I’ll explain what really happened. 🙂

Continue reading “You stole with a robot, now what?”

ARIA Developers Meet – Edinburgh

Edinburgh CastleThe ARIA project is a European project, with partners from the UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands. This has its perks, when you need to sit down for a face-to-face meeting there is no other option than to travel. And I love to visit new places!

Edinburgh BagpiperThis time, Edinburgh Scotland! Lovely city that looks and feels historical. Things to find there: loads of nice pubs, random bagpipers in front the Scottish High Court for Justice, friendly people, surprisingly nice weather and obviously: Hurray for Haggis!

Continue reading “ARIA Developers Meet – Edinburgh”