Affective robotics as device art
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Affective robotics is an important current research topic in AI. A number of engineers are attempting to design robots that have the ability to respond to human emotions, and exhibit their own emotional states. In so doing, the engineers physically stylize the machines after humans or animals. They also imbue the machines with artificial emotions that are modeled after people. This mimetic approach is problematic and experiments are unconvincing. It is neither necessary nor desirable that the robots be modeled after people, and alternative engineering approaches exist which offer more promise. Furthermore, the arts offers a knowledge-base rich with research on two central features of affective robots: physical form, and emotions. Presently, because of science and technology's cultural presence, and because of the Internet, a group of device artists has emerged who are working in the field of affective robotics and are able to ply aesthetic considerations to the field. By examining a number of artworks it can be demonstrated that device artists produce unique and valuable affective robotics. Yet by examining one case in detail, "ADB (After Deep Blue)", it can be shown that though artworks do add value, they could be improved by the disciplined approach to affective robotics that is achieved through engineering. In conclusion, it would be useful for more collaborative work between artists and engineers to follow. With the consideration of both groups it may soon be possible to have reciprocal intimacy with machines.