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Event Details

Science Pub Corvallis

Monday, January 8, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

A Robot Walks into a Bar: The comedy and social lives of machines


Speaker: Heather Knight, Oregon State University College of Engineering.


Robots will increasingly rub shoulders with people at home and in the work place, so machines need social attributes: humor, personality and body language. Heather Knight, an assistant professor in computer science at Oregon State University, aims to develop machines that use their social qualities to empower people, not replace them. She directs the CHARISMA Lab (Collaborative Humans and Robots: Interaction, Sociability, Machine Learning, and Art) at OSU.


“Machines that fail to interact appropriately with people run the risk of becoming irritating and unwelcome,” says Knight. “However, when personality and charm are added, functional machines can not only empower people, they can engage, inspire, improve performance and foster bonds with their human partners.”


Knight has worked at NASA and the MIT Media Lab where she designed a sensate skin for a teddy bear. She explores the ways psychology, expressive emotion, behavior system design and art influence the positive evolution of charismatic technology.


Knight also fosters the interaction of robotics and artists through a theater company, Marilyn Monrobot. She coordinates an annual Robot Film Festival and features comedy performances by Ginger the Robot.


Among her past accomplishments, Knight was recognized in the 2011 Forbes List for 30 under 30 in Science. Her TED Robot Comedy talk and the VMA-winning “This too shall pass” OK GO Rube Goldberg Machine music video are available online.


For more info visit Science Pub Night.


Science Pub is sponsored by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Downtown Corvallis Association and Terra magazine at Oregon State University.

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