Arbeitsgruppe Sozialwissenschaftliche Theorie

International Conference:
»Going Beyond the Laboratory — Ethical and Societal Challenges for Robotics« (GBTL)


13-15 February 2014

© Ilona Straub


Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg - Institute for Advanced Study, Delmenhorst/Germany


Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Dept. of Social Sciences, Research Unit "Sociological Theory" (AST)
— Gesa Lindemann, Gregor Fitzi, Hironori Matsuzaki, Ilona Straub


German Research Foundation (DFG)

Universitätsgesellschaft Oldenburg (UGO)

GBTL 2014

Conference Program

(Last Modified on: 08/02/2014)

Poster Session

> Poster Abstracts

Media Account

> UNI-INFO (Univ. of Oldenburg)


In case you have any questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact us:

E-Mail: gbtl(at)

The conference deals with societal consequences arising from the introduction of advanced robot technology into everyday life, focusing on the real-world applications of service and welfare robots such as companionship, nursing or child care. The intent of the conference is to examine how the increasing sophistication of robots and their deployment outside the laboratory may exert crucial effects on man-machine relationship, disrupt institutional orders of modern society, and require rethinking of varcious normative issues. When robots go beyond the laboratory, it is a challenge for robotics as well as for lay people who are the expected interaction partners of such robots. Which new institutional rules are needed to guide the expected man-machine relationship? From a sociological point of view it is likely that society will not react with one voice to these developments. Probably engineers/scientists, lay persons, lawyers, politicians or economic players will hold different views on autonomous robots. Therefore an interdisciplinary discussion is required.

The main subject areas of the conference are:

  • The agency of the robot: To what extent do robots act autonomously? Are robots able to perceive or to have expectations? Do robots have social agency? Does robotics urge us to reconsider our concepts of agency, personhood or companionship?
  • Robots beyond the laboratory: Will they be accepted by lay persons? How do lay people feel with a robot companion or a robot caregiver? How should we deal with ethical questions raised by the replacement of human caregivers by robots?
  • The social status of the robot: Which legal status is appropriate for an autonomous robot? Are robots responsible agents? Or: Who else should be held responsible for the robots' actions? What stance will science/engineering, economics or politics take on these issues?
  • Cross-cultural analysis: How do people's attitudes towards robots vary due to the local cultural circumstances?

We will invite contributors from different scientific disciplines (Robotics, Jurisprudence, Social Sciences, Philosophy, and Ethics) as well as industrial and governmental circles to enable a wide-ranging exchange and in-depth discussions on the above mentioned issues. The conference will be concluded with a panel discussion by world-leading experts from the relevant research areas. The conference is organized in the framework of the DFG research project »Development of Humanoid and Service Robots: An International Comparative Research Project – Europe and Japan«.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!


Day 1 — 13th February

8:00 –

On-site Registration

9:00 – 9:15

Welcoming Remarks: Gesa Lindemann

9:15 – 10:00

Introduction into the Subject Matter: Gregor Fitzi/ Hironori Matsuzaki

How to Design a Robot with 'Social' Agency?

10:00 – 11:00

Giorgio Metta (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia)

"Adaptive and Learning Robots that Predict and Understand Human Motions
in a Dynamic Environment"

11:00 – 11:15

Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:15

Cecilia Laschi (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna)

"Bio-Inspired Models of Robot's Behaviour and Expected Perception"

12:15 – 13:15


13:15 – 14:15

Birgit Graf (Fraunhofer Institut IPA)

"Service Robots Assisting Care Workers and Persons in Need of Care
– Application Areas and Criteria for User Acceptance"

14:15 – 15:15

Yukie Nagai (Osaka University)

"An Interaction-Based Development of Human-Robot Joint Attention
and Self/Other Cognition"

15:15 – 16.00

Poster Session I (incl. Coffee Break)

16:00 – 17.00

Morana Alač (University of California, San Diego)

"Laboratory Beyond the Laboratory"

Pragmatics of Status Ascription/Recognition:
Robot's Status Emerging from the Interplay of Different Functional Domains

17.00 – 18.00

Ingo Schulz-Schaeffer/ Martin Meister (University of Duisburg-Essen)

"Distributed Agency, Social Roles and the Robot Sociologicus"

18:00 – 18:30

Robot Exhibition

18:30 –

Banquet at the HWK/ Robot Exhibition

Day 2 — 14th February

9:00 – 10:00

Susanne Beck (University of Hannover)

"Controversies on Legal Status of Robots in Europe and Responsibility
Ascription Problems"

10:00 – 10:15 

Coffee Break

10:15 – 11:15

Tomoko Nambu (River-City Legal Profession Corporation)

"Legal Regulation and Public Policy Concerning Next-Generation-Robots in Japan"

11:15 – 12:15

Björn Juretzki (European Commission)

"Robotics in the EU – A Macroethical Perspective"

12:15 – 13:15


13:15 – 14:15

Rodolphe Gelin (Aldebaran Robotics)

"Visions of a Robot Business Entrepreneur"

14:15 – 15:15

Kohtaro Ohba (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology/Japan)

"Robot Policy and Safety Issues in Japan"

15:15 – 16.00

Poster Session II (incl. Coffee Break)

Relationship between Robots and Lay Users from Cross-Cultural Perspectives I

16:00 – 17.00

Guglielmo Tamburrini (University of Naples Federico II)

"Meanings of Ethics and the Structure of Robotic Research Programs"

17:00 – 17:15

Coffee Break

Keynote Lecture:

17:15 ‒ 19:00

Atsuo Takanishi (Waseda University)

"Ethical and Social Implications of Humanoid Robotics"

— with an Introduction by Frank Wallhoff (Jade University of Applied Science)

19:00 - 19:30

Robot Exhibition

19:30 -

Dinner at the HWK

Day 3 — 15th February

Relationship between Robots and Lay Users from Cross-Cultural Perspectives II

9:00 – 10:00

Robert Sparrow (Monash University)

"Robot Caregivers: Quality of Life and Emotional Needs in Aged Care"

10:00 – 10:15 

Coffee Break

10:15 – 11:15

Diego Compagna (University of Duisburg-Essen)

"The Impertinent Oddity of Describing a Social Robot as Social: Infringements
and Threats for Social Sciences"

11:15 – 12:15

Raul Hakli/ Marco Nørskov (Aarhus University)

"Reflections on the Interplay between Philosophy and Empirical Field Studies Based on a Case Study with a Telenoid"

12:15 – 13:15


13:15 – 14:15

Shuichi Nishio (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International)

"The Impact of the Care-Robot 'Telenoid' on Elderly Persons in Japan"

14:15 – 15:15

Selma Šabanović (Indiana University)

"Socializing Robots: Incorporating Users and Situated Interaction in Robot Development"

15:15 – 15:30

Coffee Break

15:30 – 17.00

Panel Discussion


Moderation: Gesa Lindemann