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HMAC at ALIFE14 2014 : Human-Machine Affective Coordination - Workshop at ALIFE14


When Jul 30, 2014 - Aug 2, 2014
Submission Deadline TBD
Categories    (social, cognitive) robotics   HRI   virtual agents   philosophy of cognitive scienc

Call For Papers

Call for abstracts
Deadline: May, 07, 2014 Notification of acceptance: May, 30, 2014

Human-Machine Affective Coordination
Generating Emotional and Empathic Dynamics Between Artificial and Human Agents
@ ALIFE14 New York, USA July 30 - August 02, 2014 Website:

We are interested in submissions of original HRI and Social Robotics research, or research in related fields relevant to the topic of “Human-Machine Affective Coordination”. The submissions, in the form of an abstract (min 800, max 1000 words), should be related to the investigation of one or more specific aspects of emotional and empathic HRI (e.g. theoretical, epistemological, applicative, social, ethical aspects) within the context of HRI, Social Robotics or related fields. In particular, they should present original research works dealing with questions such as:
- What are emotions and empathy for a robot? Which conditions are required in order for them to be able to participate competently in emotional and empathic dynamics with human beings?
- What theoretical models of emotions and empathy can be successfully applied in artificial agents?
- What features can facilitate artificial agents in participating competently in emotional and empathic dynamics with human beings?
- To be effective, does affective interaction between artificial agents and humans need to imitate human affective interaction, or should it to develop its own specificities?
- Under which conditions can the creation of artificial agents with affective competence positively contribute to the scientific study of human affective development and interactive dynamics?
- What are the implications of introducing artificial agents with affective competence into our social environment(s)?
- How can/should we think about the (co-)evolution of human and synthetic emotional systems in possible mixed (i.e. human and robotic) future social ecologies?
- Does handing over aspects of social care to artificial agents mean abandoning vulnerable individuals (elderly persons, children, persons with special needs...) to inauthentic affective relations?
- Under which conditions can affective and empathic relations with artificial agents be considered authentic?

About the workshop
This workshop is the third in a series of workshops and special sessions held at international conferences (i.e., ICSR 2012, and ICDL-EPIROB 2013) in order to tackle one of the central issues of human-machine interaction research: the issue of the affective (emotional, empathic) involvement of users with artificial agents. The problem of creating an agent able to establish and to participate competently in dynamic affective exchanges with human partners is fundamental to current research on artificial agents that aim to be integrated in human social world(s), especially for the success of projects involving agents dedicated to assistive and educational roles.
Current research on artificial empathy and emotion is located at the crossroad of many interconnected issues related to different disciplines, such as Computer Science, Artificial Life, Cognitive, Developmental and Social Robotics, HRI, HCI, Epistemology, Cognitive Sciences, Sociology and Ethics.
Among these issues are, for example, theoretical problems of defining how “natural” emotions could be represented in an “artificial” agent and under which conditions artificial agents could be able to participate competently in emotional and empathic dynamics with human beings. Can artificial agents “experience” emotions, or only “express” them? If we define “artificial” emotions as “pure simulations”, to which no actual experience corresponds, are there conditions in which we can consider artificial agents as partners in emotional and empathic relations?
These questions are inseparable from the technical issue of an efficient implementation of theoretical models in the diverse social environments in which artificial agents are supposed to interact with humans. Which are the current technically feasible models? Which are the results of the simulations?
The issue of application also raises problems connected to the social and ethical dimension of artificial agents. What are the implications of introducing artificial agents with affective competences into our social environments? To what extent and in what way will supportive relations be improved if artificial agents gain affective competences? Will prolonged interaction with artificial agents have a degrading effect on human social capabilities? Is it for example ethical to use artificial agents to play with the users emotions in order to sell a product? Do artificial agents need to have more then merely simulated emotions to be convincing?
These issues lead back to epistemological and theoretical questions. Under which conditions can affective and empathic relations with artificial agents be considered authentic?
Our workshop aims at offering an interdisciplinary forum in which the different dimensions of Human- Machine Affective Coordination can be connected and enriched through scientific exchange of ideas.
Most of the participants come from scientific disciplines dealing with the questions mentioned above. Our goal is to stimulate interaction between applied research and theoretical reflections, and to promote a front line in artificial empathy and emotions research that takes all the complex aspects of this endeavor (epistemological, theoretical, technical, social and ethical) into consideration, without losing sight of the fundamental question: Under which conditions can an artificial agent engage humans in dynamics of affective coordination? That is, under which conditions can an artificial agent become a social partner for humans?

How to submit an abstract
If you would like to contribute to the workshop “Human-Machine Affective Coordination”, please send an email to (cc: with:
1) title of the talk you intend to propose;
2) abstract of the talk (min 800, max 1000 words, references included).
All the abstracts will be peer-reviewed.

Deadline: May, 07, 2014
Notification of acceptance: May, 30, 2014

Organizing committee:
Luisa Damiano, University of Bergamo (Bergamo, Italy) Paul Dumouchel, Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto, Japan) Hagen Lehmann, University of Hertfordshire (Hatfield, United Kingdom)

Luisa Damiano, PhD
Associate Researcher, CERCO
Professor (temporary appointment), Department of Human and Social Sciences
University of Bergamo
Piazzale S. Agostino 2
Room 10
24129 Bergamo

Tel. +390352052909 (office)
+393920176317 (mobile)

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