Robots for Social Good: Exploring Critical Design for HRI

Hee Rin Lee, Eunjeong Cheon, Maartje De Graaf, Patrícia Alves-Oliveira, Cristina Zaga, James Young

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Robots are being increasingly developed as social actors, entering public and personal spaces such as airports, shopping malls, care centres, and even homes, and using human or animal-like social techniques to work with people. Some even aim to engineer social situations, or are designed specifically for an emotional response (e.g., comforting a person). However, if we consider these robots as social interventions, then it is important to recognize that the robots design - its behavior, its application, its appearance, even its marketing image - will have an impact on the society and in the spaces it enters. While in some cases this may be a positive effect, social robots can also contribute negatively, e.g., reinforcing gender stereotypes or promoting ageist views. This full-day workshop aims to offer a forum for Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) researchers to explore this issue, and to work toward potential opportunities for the field. Ultimately, we want to promote robots for social good that can contribute to positive social changes for socio-political issues (e.g., ageism, feminism, homelessness, environmental issues). The political aspects of technologies have long been scrutinized in related areas such as Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). In particular, critical design explicitly targets the design of technologies that can contribute to our understanding of how technology can impact society. This workshop aims to strengthen this discussion in the HRI community, with the goal of working toward initial recommendations for how HRI designers can include elements of critical design in their work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHRI 2019 - 14th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781538685556
StatePublished - Mar 22 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event14th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2019 - Daegu, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Mar 11 2019Mar 14 2019

Publication series

NameACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
ISSN (Electronic)2167-2148


Conference14th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2019
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


  • Critical Design
  • Participatory Design
  • Robots for Social Good

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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