Cooperative Robots, Uncooperative People: How Social Appropriateness can help Sustain Human-Robot Teams

February 4, 2021
3:00-4:00 pm ET
VH Sococo 102; Zoom
Speaker: David Feil-Seifer, University of Nevada-Reno
Host: Elaine Short


There are areas where robot behavior can positively shape human- robot interaction (HRI). Current research in cognitively-inspired architectures for multi-human and multi-robot collaboration for hierarchical tasks can enable teams of humans and robots to work together to complete complex tasks interacting both explicitly, through language, and implicitly through observing others' participation in a shared task. Similarly, navigation can be improved using implicit social information to improve path planning to be more socially-aware. These techniques can be used to build up positive human-robot interaction.

On the other hand, behavior common to robots and humans can break HRI dynamics. In particular, mistreatment behavior, challenges in team performance, and negative perceptions of a robot can break down human-robot teams. However, studying such breakdowns in team dynamics can teach us how to develop robots that can perform socially on teams and how to train people to be on teams with robots. Finally, we will show a novel survey instrument used to measure social intelligence that can be used as a performance measure in experimental settings.


Dave Feil-Seifer is an Associate Professor and Graduate Director in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at University of Nevada, Reno. Feil- Seifer directs the Socially Assistive Robotics Group (SARG), studying Human-Robot Interaction and Collaboration in assistive settings. He is affiliated with the UNR Neuroscience Program, the Engineering Education program, and the UNR interdisciplinary cybersecurity center. His research is motivated by the potential for SAR to address health-care crises that stem from a lack of qualified care professionals for an ever-growing population in need of personalized care as well as how to improve the graduate experience for students in CSE.

Prior to his tenure at UNR, he was a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University at the Social Robotics Lab under the direction of Prof. Brian Scassellati. He was awarded a National Science Foundation/Computing Research Association Computing Innovation Fellowship to support his postdoctoral work. He received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Rochester and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Viterbi School of Engineering (VSoE) at the University of Southern California (USC) under the direction of Prof. Maja Matarić. He helped coin the term, Socially Assistive Robotics (SAR), and studied its applications for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dave is a Senior Member in both ACM and IEEE. UNR is currently recruiting students for undergrad summer research in Collaborative Human-Robot Interaction.

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