How to humanise robots through art and tech

As we become increasingly dependent on technology, a new company believe women can help shape the future of robotics

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Artwork by Seana Gavin for Light/Slant

Many of us have seen films like AI and Ex Machina; terrifying sci-fi where warped relationships between humans and robots inevitably result in the destruction of mankind. While we know that the future of human-machine relationships envisioned by such flicks is (probably) an unrealistic one, they’ve still left an indelible impression on our psyche. And, as technology advances, the fear and resistance surrounding it also grow, especially with regards to the anthropomorphising of robots. At the end of last year, for example, a campaign was launched to ban the development of robots to be used for sex, because of fears that robots could eventually replace real life human interactions: exactly as Hollywood predicted.

In a world where women are vastly underrepresented in the workplace – particularly in technological centre points like Silicon Valley – ensuring that we are involved in the future of robotics is vital. The female touch adds a lightness to the abrasiveness of robotics, says Emma Sutton, founder of Light/Slant – a female-run collective aiming to address the issues surrounding the future of robotics through their wider project of bringing the worlds of science and art together.

Yves Béhar, Behnaz Farahi and Ken Goldberg are just some of the artists and designers lending their creativity to the project. By providing a platform to bring these artists and creatives together with voices from the tech industry to discuss current events, trends, philosophies, hopes and dreams surrounding the field, it’s a simple but radical way of shaping our fast-evolving relationship with our AI counterparts.

Light/Slant has developed a full trend report on their project, which you can download here

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