Hard Yards and Malleable Motions: realising cobotics

Alex Zafiroglu1

1 School of Cybernetics, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT Australia

Drawing on ethnographic examples from Arts and Agents, an ongoing research partnership between the ANU School of Cybernetics and the Australasian Dance Collective, I ask us to consider the work involved in designing and realising how we relate to and move with robotic systems. With successful collaboration, a world in which people and machines meaningful relate snaps into being – seemingly naturally, with grace, and easily understood by others present. For the Australasian Dance Collective’s Lucie in the Sky project, successful collaboration entails small quadcopters and dancers relating to and moving with one another intimately on stage, expressing individuality, relationships and emotional connection.  Yet designing and enacting such people/cobot relationships requires a plurality of intelligences and skills, with success emerging through both hard yards and malleable motions. Using this example, I will consider more broadly how negotiation, feedback, and incremental experimentation result in the creation of worlds in which cobots and people become with one another.