HRI as a Glimpse of Wonderland
Q What was your motivation for joining the program, and what about the program appeals to you?
The appeal of humanWare is that we can launch our own research based on our own ideas. I feel that HumanWare provides an environment in which I can work hard with like-minded students. I have a good environment and friends, and I want to work hard and do something interesting!
Q What is your expertise and how do you want to develop it with the program?
My specialty is HRI (Human Robot Interaction). I think this field is unique in that it attempts to answer fundamental human questions by building robots. When I was an undergraduate student, I was developing a system to support the development of multi-person discussions mediated by robots in order to think about what constitutes good dialogue. Now I am developing robots to answer the question of what an organism is like for humans, looking for a minimalist design of “organisms that people want to be with”.
The fundamental question takes the form of a complex interplay of multiple questions (e.g. “What is man?” and “What is society?” cannot be considered separately). Our aim is to unravel these relationships not only through natural language but also through experimentation, observation, and engineering methods where people develop products with the expectation that many people will use them. I think it is clear that knowledge of life science and information science is essential for this work. I hope that HumanWare will provide insights from perspectives that I could never have imagined on my own.
Q What are your future dreams and goals?
‘Our everyday world is backed up by the other world.’ (Hayao Kawai)
Here, our everyday world is the world we live in. On the other hand, the other world is a fantasy world where our rules do not apply. By living with a sense of the existence of not only this world but also the other world, our daily lives will be enriched. I think robots have a great potential to make people feel the existence of the “other world”. Is it possible to design sustained human-robot interactions that make people feel the extraordinary wonderland things going on in the background of their everyday lives? My goal for the future is to make this happen.