: Anthropomorphism & Embodiment

The roles of embodiment and anthropomorphism are important research themes underlying the motivations for many of the research initiatives presented here.

The research on anthropomorphism explores the illusion of life and intelligence during the development of a meaningful social interaction between artificial systems and people. As artificial systems enter our social space, we will inherently project/impose our interpretation on their actions similar to the techniques we employ in rationalising for example, a pet's behaviour. This propensity to anthropomorphise should not be seen as a hindrance to social system development, but rather a useful mechanism that requires judicious examination and employment in social system research.

Along with the understanding of our anthropomorphic tendencies, the reseach on anthropomorphism also encompasses the more global understanding of the mechanisms of our rationalising processes. No single set of anthropomorphic features will always succeed in facilitating our acceptance of an artificial system, as it is the more complex interaction of these features counterbalanced with our expectations that results in its success. It is the balance of function and form that allows certain system designs, that are more iconic and abstract, to succeed.

Understanding embodiment involves the exploration of what contextual issues (physical and social) are pertinent, even crucial, to the design of artificial systems that exist physically and/or virtually. Accounting for the issues important to embodiment closes the inimitable schism between theory and practice in AI research. That is, understanding embodiment is important in designing artificial entities that will successfully interact with the real world (including its social acceptability).