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David Silvera-Tawil <[log in to unmask]>
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David Silvera-Tawil <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:26:26 -0400
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A half-day workshop hosted at IEEE RO-MAN 2015, Kobe, Japan

*Accepted, peer-reviewed papers will be invited to publish in the Springer LNAI State-of-the-Art Survey book: Cultural Robotics.


Over the last decade the field of robotics has seen a significant increase [1] in human-robot interaction (HRI) research. It is expected that the next generation of robots will interact with humans to a much greater extent than ever before [2]. As the distance between humans and robots narrows, robotics research is moving into areas where robotic entities have become participants, and in some cases generators of culture. With this in mind, this workshop aims to identify and outline the notion of Cultural Robotics as an emerging field.

As a logical evolution from the field of human-robot interaction, and particularly social robotics, the emerging field of Cultural Robotics [3] looks to understand the role of robots as cultural participants and creators of culture. Cultural Robotics, then, is defined as the study of robots in culture, cultural acceptance of robots, and robot-generated culture. In other words, a cultural robot is a robotic entity that participates in, and contributes to, the development of material and/or nonmaterial culture. The terms 'material' and 'nonmaterial' refer to tangible cultural products such as a painting or a piece of music and intangible products such as values, norms and traditions respectively.

In this vein, previous research has investigated the effect of culture on both the design [4] and acceptability of robots [5]. The cultural influence of robots, furthermore, can be noticed in theatre [6], stand-up comedy [7], and religion [8]; all activities previously reserved for humans but today also ‘enjoyed’ by robots. Additionally, robots such as “Shimon” [9]—an autonomous robotic marimba player—already produce material cultural artefacts, such as an improvised piece of music. Shimon not only communicates a meaningful message to the human counterpart through shared conventions of communication and musical composition, but in turn provides a new avenue for human/robot collaboration that could lead towards a new musical genre. In addition to serving beverages, the “Robot Bartender” [10] recognises and interprets multimodal socio-cultural signals from its human ‘clients’.

As noted, culture is a multilayered construct, inclusive of not only external artefacts such as language and customs, food and dance, but also nuanced elements of “a group’s shared set of specific basic beliefs, values, practices and artefacts that are formed and retained over a long period of time” [11]. This workshop recognises culture as a complex and integral consideration in the design, application and advancement of social robotics. In looking at the social acceptance of robots, we present culture as the touchstone for meaningful and sustained human-robot interaction. We hope to inspire discussion on questions such as: “What is the future of robotic contribution to human cultures?” and “What will the advent of robotic-generated culture look like?”.

Topics include, but are not limited to the following:
      •       Cultural and artistic robotic systems
      •       Robotic partner technologies
      •       Robotic improvisation and collaboration
      •       Cultural acceptance of robotic agents
      •       Impact of culture on robotic design and vice versa
      •       Cognitive models for cultural robots
      •       Artificial intelligence focused on creativity
      •       HRI studies on cultural robots
      •       Robots and entertainment
      •       Exploratory research into defining cultural robotics


This workshop aims to bring together researchers and practitioners interested in all aspects of Cultural Robotics, such as the impact of culture in the design and application of robots, the emergence of robot-generated culture, and the cultural acceptance of robots. We invite cross-disciplinary contributions from researchers and practitioners from the fields of HRI, engineering, computer sciences, fine & media arts, design, sociology, anthropology, psychology, neurosciences, cognitive sciences, semiotics, linguistics, literary studies, history, policy, and communications & cultural studies. We also welcome the input of industry to shape commercial applications of the discussion. We encourage the inclusion of expertise from those outside of traditional robotics with hopes of developing a richer understanding of the juxtaposition of culture and robotics.


May 8th: proposed paper title, author details, and abstract submissions due
June 15th: paper final submissions due
July 20th: notification of acceptance
August 31st: workshop day at RO-MAN 2015


Please email the title, author names, affiliations, contact details, and single paragraph abstracts for your intended paper submissions [log in to unmask], before May 8th, 2015. This is for RO-MAN workshop organization requirements and there will be no notification of acceptance at this stage. Final submission as follows:

Submit a PDF of your original research papers [log in to unmask] for single-blind review before June 15th, 2015. Please use either Word or LaTeX templates to prepare your paper. Accepted, peer-reviewed long (8 to 20 pages) and short (4 to 10 pages) papers will be invited to present a talk or poster, respectively, as well as continue their works towards an Springer LNAI State-of-the-Art Survey book titled Cultural Robotics. All accepted papers require a minimum of one author to register for the workshop. Find out more on the RO-MAN 2015 website.


Mari Velonaki (UNSW, Australia)
Masahiko Inami (Keio Univ., Japan)


Alex Davies (UNSW, Australia)
Charith Fernando (Keio Univ., Japan)
Petra Gemeinboeck (UNSW, Australia)
M. Hank Haeusler (UNSW, Australia)
Guy Hoffman (IDC Herzliya, Israel)
Benjamin Johnston (UTS, Australia)
Yoshio Matsumoto (AIST, Japan)
Tim Merritt (Aarhus School of Arch., Denmark)
Ryohei Nakatsu (NUS, Singapore)
Roshan Peiris (SUTD, Singapore)
Doros Polydorou (Univ. of Hertfordshire, England)
David Rye (Univ. of Sydney, Australia)
Maha Salem (Univ. of Hertfordshire, England)
Hooman Samani (NTPU, Taiwan)
Dag Sverre Syrdal (Univ. of Hertfordshire, England)
James Teh (T.Ware, Singapore)
Katsumi Watanabe (Univ. of Tokyo, Japan)
Mary-Anne Williams (UTS, Australia)
Kening Zhu (City Univ. Hong Kong, China)


Jeffrey T. K. Valino Koh (UNSW, Australia)
Belinda Jane Dunstan (UNSW, Australia)
David Silvera-Tawil (UNSW, Australia)


1.Goodrich, M.A. & Schultz, A.C. Human-robot interaction: A survey. Foundations and Trends in Human-Computer Interaction, 1(3):203–275, 2007.
2.Harper, C. & Virk, G. Towards the development of international safety standards for human-robot interaction. Int. J. Social Robotics, 2(3):229–234, 2010.
3.Hooman Samani, Elham Saadatian, Natalie Pang, Doros Polydorou, Owen Noel Newton Fernando, Ryohei Nakatsu and Jeffrey Tzu Kwan Valino Koh. Cultural Robotics: The Culture of Robotics and Robotics in Culture. Int J Adv Robot Syst, 2013, 10:400. doi: 10.5772/57260
4.Lee, Hee Rin, and Selma Sabanović. “Culturally variable preferences for robot design and use in South Korea, Turkey, and the United States.” Proc. ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-robot Interaction, 2014.
5.Bartneck, Christoph. “Who like androids more: Japanese or US Americans?.” Robot and Human Interactive Communication, Proc. IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, 2008.
6.Malik, Byng “Savanna: A Possible Landscape’ by Amit Drori and Dover & Cederbaum”, Wallpaper* The stuff that refines you, Published online: amit-drori-and-dover-cederbaum/6313#fiYRi72cR4xyurV6.99, January 2013.
7.Engineered Arts Limited, RoboThespian, Published online:, 2015.
8.Iran teacher builds robot to teach children how to pray”, RT News, Published Online:, February 2014.
9.Gil Weinberg, Guy Hoffman, Ryan Nikolaidis, and Roberto Aim. 2009. Shimon + ZOOZbeat: an improvising robot musician you can jam with. In ACM SIGGRAPH ASIA Art Gallery & Emerging Technologies: Adaptation, New York, USA, 84-84, 2009.
10.Mary Ellen Foster, Andre Gaschler, and Manuel Giuliani. How can I help you?: Comparing engagement classification strategies for a robot bartender. Proc. ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction, New York, USA, 255-262, 2013.
11.Taras Vas, Julie Rowney, and Piers Steel. “Half a century of measuring culture: Review of approaches, challenges, and limitations based on the analysis of 121 instruments for quantifying culture.” J. International Management 15.4 (2009): 357-373.

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