Technology should connect people
Technology should connect people

Visakhapatnam: “We need to focus on people educating robots, not robots educating people,” stated Dr Heather Knight, Assistant Professor of Robotics at Oregon State University, who has been building social robots for 16 years, while delivering her Headline Session on the third day of Transforming Education Conference for Humanity (TECH) 2017 in Visakhapatnam on Monday.

Speaking at the first-ever Transforming Education Conference for Humanity (TECH) 2017, organised by UNESCO (MGIEP) and the government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) with the support of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Knight gave an insight into the world of “Social Robots” or essentially robots with the capacity to have humanistic characteristics and interactions.

“Leveraging human metaphors can create charismatic machines,” said Dr Heather Knight. She treated the audience to a number of engaging videos that emphasised the entertainment component of social robots. “People are not utilitarian and neither should robots be,” she said. The charismatic speaker highlighted that communication with robots helps them mirror humanistic behaviour patterns.

Accompanying Dr. Knight on the stage was her ‘friend’ Ginger, a robot that Dr. Knight had created. Ginger directed the captivated audience to a mindfulness session and a relaxation exercise which concluded with yoga asanas!

“We need technology to connect us and not divide us,” Dr Heather Knight concluded, much to the audience’s delight. TECH is sponsored by Microsoft India, Samsung India, McGraw Hill and Veative. Other Knowledge Partners include the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Quebec Government, Economic Development Board (EDB), Ubisoft and Social Alpha.