Accepted papers

List of accepted papers to be presented at LSR 2018 in Montana


Papers Title Papers Authors Abstract
“Intimate Relationship” with “Virtual Humans” and the “Socialification” of Familyship Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Komazawa University In this paper, the author provides a new view on intimate relationships with “virtual humans” such as robots and AIs. Recent technological developments have enabled firms to create humanlike robots and AIs. It is likely that, in the near future, a growing number of people will want intimate relationships with these virtual humans. This may receive harsh criticism, for example that such a move would indicate objectification of women or ethical wrongdoing. Instead, however, it should be viewed in light of quality of life (QOL) for sexual minorities and people with various disabilities. Aided by discussion of the introduction of the Long Term Public Care Insurance (LTCI) system in Japan in the late 1990s, the author positions this trend as the “socialification” of familyship—that is, a phenomenon in which the virtual humans, as products or services offered by businesses, become partners/family members, and a change by which some parts of the intimate relationships within families are shared in society. Just as the LTCI system, which was introduced as a socialification of nursing care, reduced the burden of care on Japanese women and improved their QOL, adoption of virtual humans as a socialification of familyship is also likely to improve the QOL of people with difficulties.
Moral Psychology of Sex Robots: an experimental study– How Pathogen Disgust is associated with interhuman sex but not interandroid sex Mika J T Koverola, University of Helsinki The idea of sex with robots seems to fascinate the general public, raising both enthusiasm and revulsion. We ran two experimental studies (N= 172 and N= 260) where we compared people’s reactions to variants of stories about a person visiting a bordello. Our results show that paying for the ser-vices of a sex robot is condemned less harshly than paying for the services of a human sex worker, especially if the payer is married. We feel that we have for the first time experimentally confirmed that people are somewhat unsure about whether using a sex robot while in a committed monogamous relationship should be considered as infidelity or not. We have also shed some light on the psychological factors that influence attitudes towards sex robots. As our results indicate that sex with a robot is indeed considered to be sex and a sex robot is seen as a robot, we feel that we have shown that standard methods of research on sexuality and robotics are applicable in re-search on sex robotics.
Tying the Knot with a Robot: Legal and Philosophical Foundations for Human-Artificial Intelligence Matrimony Greg Yanke, Arizona State University Technological progress may eventually produce sophisticated robots with human-like traits that result in humans forming meaningful relationships with them. Such relationships would likely lead to a demand for human-artificial intelligence (AI) matrimony. U.S. Supreme Court decisions that expanded the definition of marriage to include interracial and same-sex couples, as well as those that have not extended marriage to polygamous relationships, provide guidance regarding the criteria that human-AI would have to meet in order to successfully assert a right to marry. Ultimately, robots will have to attain legal personhood in order to acquire marriage rights. However, there is no consistent test for determining what constitutes a legal person. Legal and philosophical scholars disagree regarding the necessary and sufficient conditions for personhood though most acknowledge the need for certain cognitive capacities. Even if AIs possess these capabilities, it is social acceptance of intelligent non-humans as life partners that will likely influence legal development is this realm rather than cognitive criteria. However, AIs are likely to face bias due to their “artificial” rather than biological nature. Yet, Peter Singer’s influential argument regarding speciesism in the context of animal rights implies that AIs with specific human-like qualities cannot be justifiably denied certain rights.
TouchYou: A Wearable Touch Sensor and Stimulator for Using Our Own Body as a Remote Sex Interface Leonardo M Gomes, University of Sao Paulo,   Rita Wu, University of Sao Paulo In this article we present TouchYou, a pair of wearable interfaces that enables af-fective touch interactions with people at long distance. Through a touch sensitive interface, which works by touch, pressure and capacitance, the body becomes the own input for stimulating the other body, which has a stimulation interface that enables the feeling of being touched. The person receives an electrical muscle stimulation, thermal and mechanical stimulation that reacts depending on the touch sensed by the first interface. By using the TouchYou, people can stimulate each other, using their own body, not only for sexual relations at a distance but for the production of affections and another way of feeling. We discuss the im-portance of the touch for human relationships, the current state of art in haptic in-terfaces and how the technology can be used for the affection remote transmis-sion. We present the design process of the TouchYou sensitive and stimulation interfaces, with a contribution of a method for developing custom touch sensors, we explore usage scenarios for the technology, including sex toys and sex robots and we present the concept of using the body as a remote sex interface.
The Loves We Long For/Sex-Tech for Whom? Queer Futures, Connectionist Visions, and the Transformative Potential of Sex-Tech Krizia Puig, University of California Santa Cruz This is an act of resistance against the logics of subjectivity, relationality, fulfillment, and temporality that keep queer/trans people of color excluded from current projects of sexual future making. This is the first step of a theoretical/performative experiment that aims to shift the hyper-normative, male-centered, and cis hetero-romantic logics behind contemporary understandings of what a sex-robot should do and or be, and about the nuances of our possible relationships with/to synthetic beings. I argue that, to unleash the transformative potential of sexual technologies, we need to leave aside oppositional modes of relationality that aim to produce individualistic forms of satisfaction centered on the needs and fantasies of cis white men. I posit that it is necessary to move towards a “connectionist” (Keating 2, 2007) understanding of pleasure that sets the creation of radically vulnerable networks of affection as the “queer horizon” (Muñoz 11, 2009) of future forms of techno-eroticism. To conclude, I expand on the reasons why it is an urgent matter to include intersectional queer/trans knowledges and practices within the spaces where notions of the future are imagined and created as a first step to dismantle systemic structures of oppression that limit our experiences of love.
Making out with the world and valuing relationships with humans. Mediation theory and the introduction of teledildonics. Nicola Liberati, University of Twente The paper aims to analyse the effects of the introduction of teledildos on our sexual lives according to postphenomenology and mediation theory. Digital technologies are getting very intimate by mediating even our sexual intercourse as in the case of teledildonics. Since according to postphenomenology and mediation theory, technologies are never neutral, the question of how we will be affected by their introduction becomes essential. In this work, we will show how they will allow human beings to have sexual intercourse with every object around by turning them into sexually interactive “quasi-others”, and how this change will affect many aspects of our lives. We will show it will affect how we perceive the world around, and how we are tempted by it. Moreover, we will highlight how even the meaning we give to sex will be shaped according to the new potentialities provided by this technology, and teledildos will touch even the values related to it.
Characterization of emotional and social interactive behaviors of  Souhern African cultural groups for efficient HRI

Chinenye  A Ajibo, Institute for Intelligent Systems, B2 Lab 217, University of Johannesburg, South Africa,
Sena Babu, Institute for Intelligent Systems, B2 Lab 217, University of Johannesburg, South Africa,
Sumayya Ebrahim, University of Johannesburg

The heterogeneity of man’s social environment requires that Social Robots (SRs) be adequately be furnished with high-level cognitive functionalities for effective social interaction. However, the variation in the interacting and emo-tional behaviors amongst individuals attributable to their cultural propensities, places a great barrier to the extent of integration of these robots in public domain. These robots are not able to efficiently and effectively interact with appropriate communicating and emotional behaviors owing to their inability to observe these barriers. In an effort to remediate this challenge, there is need to understand and characterize the social interactive and emotional be-haviors of persons in the domain where these SRs are to be deployed. This paper therefore, seeks to characterize overlapping nonverbal communicating behaviors and emotional displays of cultural groups in Southern African. It also establish a relationship between the pro-social trait tendencies of the cultural groups and their social emotional tendencies. Results from this studies shows that, Zulu and Xhosa cultural groups have a higher pro-social trait propensity with mean values of 0.58 and 0.54 and as such have a higher tendency to dis-play these behaviors during communication. Similarly we establish that sever-al of these communicating behaviors overlap across cultural groups and have similar interpretation. Though some distinct behaviors still exist across the groups.
Meet Alex Your New Best Friend: Chatbots as Human Companions

RIley Richards, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee,
Austin Beattie, University of Iowa

While companion robots maintain high price tags, chatbots and other artificial intelligent agents designed for friendship, and more, are more financially manageable. These computer agents are still in their infancy but are expected to be useful in the future. There is limited work on the expectations individuals have going into communicative interaction with these agents. This study utilized a national 305 participant sample via a 2×1 experiment to understand their assumptions better. Results indicate having lower communication apprehension when talking to a chatbot but lower affinity seeking in comparison to another human. Furthermore, the more presence the chatbot is perceived to have the more interpersonal attraction the chatbot receives. Findings are discussed with future research directions.
Emotional and Physical Intimacy with Robots; A Qualitative Study of Behavioural Intention

Chamari Edirisinghe, Imagineering Institute,
Adrian David Cheok, Imagineering Institute / City, University  of London

This paper introduces a qualitative study conducted to understand the perceived behavioural intention towards emotional and physical intimacy with robots. 15 individuals with an average age of 29 years have participated in this study. Our framework for this study was adapted from the theory of reasoned action (TRA). TRA asserts that behavioural intentions are driven by the negative/positive evaluation of outcomes of a behaviour, and subjective norms. The novelty in this paper is determining the perception towards emotional and physical intimacy with robots using qualitative method structured by adapting TRA. Our results revealed that emotional and physical intimacy with robots was implicitly understood as positive. However, subjective norms were the key influences in perceiving the behaviour.
Avoiding the Uncanny Valley: Sex Robots and Robot Sex beyond Mimicry

Tanja Kubes, TU Munich

Techno-feminists have long pointed out that technology is hardly ever gender neutral (cf. Barad, Wajcman, Haraway, Barth, etc.). Current trends in sex robotics seemingly take this binary coding to the extreme. Robots ready to hit the market clearly mirror a strong Eurocentric male gaze (I-methodology), reducing “robot companions” to large-breasted Barbie dolls with glimpses of artificial intelligence.
Accordingly, many feminists take a decidedly critical stance, arguing rightly that robot sex is an expression of “toxic masculinity” (Gildea), drawing on stereotypes of passive, submissive, ever willing women with the appearance of male pornographic phantasies. Others maintain, that sex robots are produced within a framework of “property relations” (Richardson) and that the very idea of robot sex is self-contradictory, since any act of sex deserving its name involves at least two (human) subjects. While it is true that existing prototypes of sex robots tend to gender sexually neutral machines in a decidedly “unqueer” way playing on hyper feminine (and to a much lesser extend masculine) ideals of beauty and sexiness, it does not have to be like that.
My presentation looks at the design, construction and use of sex robots from a gender-queer perspective, asking: Which human traits are translated into technological simulacra? Which sets of traits do designers describe as essential for a “sexy” sex robot? Are sex bots considered as an extension of (human/non-human) sexuality, simply adding to the variety of possible sex partners, or are they used as a substitute for human encounters? And finally, which queer potential lies in the design of machines built for their users’ sexual pleasure? Could these inventions maybe even open the path to new variants of sexuality in a sex-positive way?
I will argue that current attempts to build robots mimicking hyper-sexualized human models are eventually doomed to fail. Robots created that way are almost inevitably taking their prospective customers straight into the “uncanny valley” (Mori), eliciting creepy feelings of eeriness and revulsion. This, however, does not mean that there is no potential for “intelligent” machines that can satisfy their users’ sexual and emotional needs to at least some extent On the contrary. Developments in care-robotics show that, in fact, people seem quite prepared to accept robots as addressees for affection and emotion.
Successfully building them, however, requires a thorough rethinking of our anthropocentric world view (Latour). Leaving the beaten tracks of a man-machine dualism, we might eventually be able to take advantage of the emancipatory potential of sex robots to deconstruct gender dichotomies and free western ideals of love and desire – maybe even to the point of liberating humanism from its “carnal” limitations.