From Interactive Robots, Social Networks, and Teleoperation Towards the Hybrid Human-Machine Cloud

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

Speaker: Professor Nikolaos Mavridis

Faculty Host: Professor Keith Ross

Creating robots that can fluidly converse in natural language, and cooperate and socialize with their human partners is a goal that has always captured human imagination. Furthermore, it is a goal that requires truly interdisciplinary research: engineering, computer science, as well as the cognitive sciences are crucial towards its realization.

Challenges and current progress towards this goal will be illustrated through two real-world robot examples: the conversational robot “Ripley”, and the “FaceBots” social robots which utilize and publish social information on the FaceBook website. A glimpse towards novel educational and artistic avenues opened by such robots will be provided, through the Interactive Theatre installation of the Ibn Sina robot. Starting from examples from Avicenna’s case. we will also refer to robotic teleoperation, telepresence, as well as to mixed-autonomy systems.  Finally, we will briefly explore some avenues of the near and more distant future: Human-Robot Teams, as well as the very promising concept of the Hybrid Human-Machine Cloud .

About the Speaker
Dr. Nikolaos Mavridis has received his PhD from MIT in 2007, after receiving his MSEE from UCLA and a MEng in ECE from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Currently, he is serving as an Assistant Professor at the College of IT of the United Arab Emirates University, where he has founded the Interactive Robots and Media Laboratory (IRML). The lab is home to the microsoft-award winning "FaceBots" social robots project, as well as to "IbnSina", the first arabic-speaking humanlike humanoid. The current research interests of Dr. Mavridis include: Social Robotics, Human-Robot Interaction, Language Grounding, and Cognitive Science. In his PhD thesis at MIT, he has introduced the "Grounded Situation Model" proposal, and has demonstrated its benefits by implementing it on Ripley, a manipulator robot with vision, touch, and speech synthesis/recognition. The sensorymotor/linguistic abilities of the resulting system were comparable to those implied by a standard psychological test for 3-year old children (The "Token Test"). Dr. Mavridis has received honorary fellowships from the Onasis foundation and the Hellenic State Fellowship organization, and he has also served in numerous leadership positions.