LAAS-CNRS, Toulouse, November 30 - December 1st, 2017

Wording Robotics


The Anthropomorphic Motion Factory is a unique forum developed in the framework of the European ERC project Actanthrope (2014-2019). It is open to researchers and experts from various backgrounds, all involved in the study of human and humanoid motion. After the first workshop dedicated to «Dance Notations and Robot Motion»  in 2014, the second workshop dedicated to « Geometric and Numerical Foundations of Movements» in 2015, the third workshop dedicated to «Biomechanics and Robotics»,  the current edition is devoted to «Rhetorics and Robotics». It will gather various perspectives regarding human language, understanding and perception of robotics. The aim is to deliver new leads on how the technique is perceived by our contemporaries.

In common with general scientific investigation, new ideas, concepts and interpretations emerge spontaneously in the field of robotics. Obviously, we need representations and words that can help us to explain our discoveries, to discuss and debate about them, to popularize them and spread our understanding and knowledge. As it has been done by many other scientific fields before, robotics picks some of its words from another field and one that interests us especially, the field of the human intelligence. Autonomy, decision, judgement, learning, intelligence, consciousness,... are nothing else than familiar to the description of our own body.

But are these robots actually making decisions? Are they actually intelligent (whatever it means)? Does the arrival of robots create a rupture in the history of machines?

In order to contribute to the debate, roboticists will describe what is new about robots and their functioning. Robotics is the research field that studies the computer controlled machine and its link to the physical world. The discipline deals with the operations and uses of robots, automatic control, information processing, etc. The roboticist will then explain how these technical tools bring autonomy in robotics, how they allow decision making, learning, etc.

Rhetoricians and linguists will focus on the lexicon, i.e. they will dig deeply in the meaning of these words. When we talk about intelligent robots, do we actually mean clever robots? Would it be in fact more appropriate to talk about smart robots? What’s the difference? The rhetorician will explore the various connotations attached to this list of words. The aim is to gain in subtlety in the understanding of the language used in and about robotics.

Finally, other experts such as philosophers, anthropologists and researchers in cognition will broach the implications of robot actions from human perspective. Mainly, they will consider the question of how humans represent robot actions and how the attribution of intentionality works.  Exploring the beliefs about the mind will nourish the first two points of view.

The workshop is by invitation only. It is organized around fifteen talks including four keynotes. In order to emphasize on interactions and discussions among participants, the number of attendees is limited to 50. 



Jean-Paul Laumond (, LAAS-CNRS, Toulouse) 

E. Danblon (, GRAL, ULB, Brussels)


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