Human-robot interaction has made great advancements in the last decades, including interactive learning, dialogue-based communication, or collaborative physical interaction. At the same time, the field is still facing hard challenges in coping with individual differences between users, the task- and context-related complexities of cooperative behavior, or maintaining acceptance over the long term. This has led to a demand for human-aware A.I. and robots, which can understand other’s at the level of their mental states, can make themselves understandable to others, or can respond to the needs and expectations of humans during collaborative interaction. One missing prerequisite for this are appropriate computational models of social cognition and behavior, which can account for the embodied-agentive as well cognitive-affective nature of interaction partners, as well as for the dynamic and continuous adaptation processes taking place within and between interaction partners. I will present work on social robots and agents striving towards this vision, including fluent communication and mutual coordination in dialogue, creating transparency through human-compatible explanations of social robot behavior, and building an adaptive theory of mind of others by model-switching.
Stefan Kopp is Prof. of Computer Science and head of the "Social Cognitive Systems" Group at the Faculty of Technology at Bielefeld University. He obtained his PhD in Artificial Intelligence for seminal work on intelligent multimodal agents. After a postdoc stay at Northwestern University (IL) and a research fellowship at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research ZiF (Bielefeld), he has been deputy coordinator of SFB 673 “Alignment in Communication“, principal investigator of the research center “Cognitive Interaction Technology“ (CITEC), and chairman of the German Cognitive Science Society (GK). Stefan is internationally renowned and awarded for his interdisciplinary research at the intersection of human communication, embodied-cognitive models of social intelligence, and bootstrapping it in conversational agents or social robots. He has been involved as principal investigator in leading research projects on human/child-robot interaction, multimodal communication, cognitive assistants, or explainable systems. His current research interests center around the interplay and coordinative dynamics of social cognition and communication in human-agent/robot interaction.