Are We Trusting our Robots Too Much? Examining Human-Robot Interactions in the Real World

Speaker: Prof. Ayanna Howard
Affiliation: Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract:  As robots become more fully interactive with humans during the performance of our day-to-day activities, the role of trust and algorithm transparency must be more carefully investigated.  Trust conveys the concept that when interacting with robots, humans tend to exhibit similar behaviors as when interacting with other humans, and thus may misunderstand the risk associated with deferring their decisions to a robot. In this talk, two research efforts will be discussed that are tightly linked to human-robot trust and are realizable in the near-term. In the first effort, I will discuss research in healthcare robotics in which robots act as therapy coaches for children with motor disabilities. I will examine the characteristics that we intentionally embed in the robot design to improve trust and the resulting outcomes on both human performance and perception of the robot’s performance.   In the second effort, I will discuss robots in emergency situations, such as could be used for search and rescue operations. I will discuss how humans react to these robots, specifically, how humans tend to overtrust robots when required to make decisions during time-critical scenarios. I will close with a discussion on possible ways we, as scientists, could help mitigate these overtrust concerns.

Biography:  Ayanna Howard, Ph.D. is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds a faculty appointment in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and functions as the Chief Technology Officer of Zyrobotics. Dr. Howard’s career focus is on intelligent technologies that must adapt to and function within a human-centered world. Her work, which encompasses advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), assistive technologies, and robotics, has resulted in over 250 peer-reviewed publications in a number of projects – from healthcare robots in the home to AI-powered STEM apps for children with diverse learning needs.  To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine, as well as being recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider and one of the Top 50 U.S. Women in Tech by Forbes. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics, which is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of STEM educational products to engage children of all abilities. Prior to Georgia Tech, Dr. Howard was a Senior Robotics Researcher and Deputy Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She has also served as the Associate Director of Research for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Chair of the Robotics Ph.D. program, and the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech.

For more information, contact Prof. Ankur Mehta ()

Date(s) - May 06, 2019
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

EE-IV Shannon Room #54-134
420 Westwood Plaza - 5th Flr., Los Angeles CA 90095