Public Release: 

American Psychological Association conference on technology, mind and society

Presentations to focus on psychology of interactions between humans, technology

American Psychological Association

Keynote Speakers:

Cynthia Breazeal, ScD, associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab; founder, Personal Robots Group; and founder and chief scientist, Jibo Inc., will speak on her work designing social robots intended for human engagement. She will discuss how her formative years prepared her to become a pioneer of social robotics and human-robot interaction, from her childhood fascination with R2D2 to creating Jibo, the first social robot for the home.

Justine Cassell, PhD, associate dean of Technology Strategy and Impact and director emerita of the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Cassell, a psychologist, will present on how, by understanding human behavior, attitudes and interactions, we can build better robots. Robots allow us to understand what we care most about, what it means to be human, what it means to be kind and caring and close, what interaction is and what we wish it to be.

Eric Horvitz, MD, technical fellow and managing director, Microsoft Research Labs; winner of the Feigenbaum Prize and the Allen Newell Award for contributions in artificial intelligence. As a leading voice in AI safety and ethics, Horvitz has focused his work on how technology can have a positive impact on the lives of human beings. With Hollywood movies often portraying robots and humans at odds with one another, Horvitz will present a different vision: how humans and machines can build a collaborative future.

Alex "Sandy" Pentland, PhD, professor of media arts and sciences, and director, Connection Science and Human Dynamics Programs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pentland, one of the most cited computer scientists in the world, is also a psychologist. By helping people better understand their social environment using mathematical tools inspired by physics, Pentland tackles the question: How can we leverage big data to make better predictions about human behavior?

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Other scheduled sessions include:

  • Designing Educational Technology for Young Children: What Does the Research Say?
  • Human Centered Vehicle Automation: Lessons and Questions from the Real-World
  • Using Social Media to Measure Psychological Health and Illness
  • Can Robots Improve the Quality of Life in People with Dementia?
  • Growing Up a Digital Native: Effects on Cognition, Parent-Child Interaction, and Healthy Development

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