Invited talks

Vanessa Evers
University of Twente


What's Love Got to Do With It?: The Influence of Social Behavior on Robot Acceptance


The classic image in the psychology of Human-Robot Interaction is that of a person who is focused and eager to learn how to work with or control a robot. The job of the roboticist then is primarily to avoid mistakes in accuracy of detection, manipulation, navigation, decision making, planning and so on to optimize human robot collaboration. Right?
In this talk I'll argue that social norms embedded in people, robots and the context in which the robots are used make this approach obsolete. Specifically, I’ll address the following questions:

  • How do people understand robot behaviours?
  • What do we know about people and robots collaborating?
  • Can a robot understand human social behaviours?
  • How does knowledge about human social relationships necessitate a change in our thinking about how humans should be modeled?
  • How can the design of robots and their behavior improve acceptance of robots in everyday environments such as our homes, airports, museums, schools, roads, and hospitals?
Through examples of practical deployment of robots, I will explore the fundamentally social relationship people have with autonomous robots and offer essential rules for effective human-robot collaboration. In support of the current trend to make robots that work with people, I will consider barriers between RSS and HRI research communities and propose possible ways to overcome them.


Vanessa Evers is a full professor of Human Computer Interaction at the University of Twente. She is Chair of the Human Media Interaction group at the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics, a group of approx. 40 scientists from various disciplinary backgrounds working at the intersection of intelligent systems and people. She is also the director of the University of Twente’s DesignLab for Interdisciplinary research through academic/public/industry partnerships. She received a M.SC. in Information Systems from the University of Amsterdam, and a Ph. D. in human computer interaction from the Open University, UK. During her Master studies she spent two years at the Institute of Management Information Studies of the University of New South Wales, Sydney. After her Ph.D. she has worked for the Boston Consulting Group in London as a consultant and later became an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdams Institute of Informatics. She was a visiting researcher at Stanford University. Vanessa’a research interests focus on interaction with intelligent and autonomous systems such as robots as well as international aspects of Human Computer Interaction. She has published over 80 peer reviewed publications, many of which in high quality journals and conferences in human computer interaction and human robot interaction. She serves on Program Committees of ACM/IEEE HRI, ACM SIGCHI, HSI, ACM CSCW and ACM Multimedia. Vanessa is frequently interviewed about her work on national public tv, newspapers or magazines. Vanessa is an editor for the International Journal of Social Robotics, she is co-chair of the ACM International Human Robot Interaction Steering Committee and Associate Editor of the Human Robot Interaction Journal.