On Monday I gave a talk at TechFest titled “Are you talking to me? What to say when you are talking to Robots?”.
I spoke about what autonomous systems are and how they are different from robots. They do a lot of the same things, but
don’t have a physical form like Honda’s helper robot ASIMO, or even a Furby.
They operate independently of people, and can communicate between themselves and us people.
These systems are everywhere, in our tills, satellites, sometimes even in our copy machines (sorry, I meant multi-functional devices!). Some of these systems are pretty powerful, like self-driving cars and drones, and so it’s really important to keep people in the loop. We need to be able to understand what is going on `under the hood’, ask why certain things are happening, and be
able to change or override system behavior when it’s appropriate.
This is where explanations like the ones we are developing in SAsSY come in – we help people understand complex plans,
and the various reasons (and counter-arguments for them, and the counter arguments for the first counter-arguments…) for
why things are done a certain way. I’ve posted the slides online, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the talk.