Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
We Are the Robots: An anthropological perspective on human-robot interaction
Socialantropologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitetet.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


How do we cope with technology today? We are surrounded by machines, computers and technological devices from mobile phones to automated check- outs. These types of machines are no longer exotic in Sweden where today the average person is usually fluent in their use. But do we really have an understanding of how these objects work, is understanding necessary and how do we cope when our knowledge is lacking?

This thesis is intended as an introduction to an anthropological way of look- ing at strategies people develop for understanding, using and interacting with technological objects, specifically robots. Still an exotic object, robots are more widely known-about than experienced. Based on ethnographic data, primarily gathered in two distinct workplace environments as well as interviews and video documentation, my analysis aims to illustrate the implications of defining hu- mans and robots as equally significant agents within networks whilst disputing the traditional importance given to the dichotomy of technology (non-human) and human.

Whilst robots are definitely less than we expect them to be, they are still so- cial artefacts, firmly situated within social networks and meaning which manifest through human–robot interactions. Perhaps little more than tools, an ambigu- ity exists in human–robot interactions which suggests that we form quasi-social relations that could, and have been exploited by designers and engineers to broaden the range of use for technological objects.

Keywords: human-robot interaction, network theory, situated knowledges, agential realism, performativity, social contextualisation of technological objects

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 82 p.
Keyword [en]
human-robot interaction, agential realism, situated knowledges, networks of perspectives
National Category
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-49557OAI: diva2:459825
Educational program
Degree of Master
2010-08-30, 09:00 (English)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-04-19 Created: 2011-11-28 Last updated: 2012-04-19Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

rcupitt_wearetherobots(2548 kB)365 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 2548 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Social Anthropology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 365 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 242 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link