CS Colloquium: Thomas Williams, Colorado School of Mines

November 3, 2022 Add to Calendar

4:15–5:30 p.m.


Galileo Hall
240 Platt Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711


"Secret Agents: The Real and Imagined Inner Lives of Interactive Robots"

Robots are secret agents. By this I mean that while computer scientists and roboticists may not view their robots as being fully autonomous, interactive, and adaptive, everyday users perceive them as such nonetheless. This creates a whole host of user expectations that may be hard to live up to — and that may cause problems when violated. In this talk, I’ll begin by explaining how robot design choices impact how people perceive robots and expect them to behave. I’ll then explain why robots are not simply agents, but are also moral and social agents, and explain the work the MIRRORLab has been doing to understand and address the unique perceptions and expectations that come along with these more nuanced types of agency. Finally, I’ll discuss how these two types of agency interact, and the unique challenges that this imposes.

About Thomas Williams: Tom Williams is an associate professor of computer science at the Colorado School of Mines, where he directs the Mines Interactive Robotics Research Lab. Prior to joining Mines, he earned a joint PhD in computer science and cognitive science from Tufts University in 2017. Williams’ research focuses on enabling and understanding natural language based human-robot interaction that is sensitive to environmental, cognitive, social and moral context. His work is funded by grants from NSF, ONR, and ARL, as well as by Early Career awards from NSF, NASA, and AFOSR.

The weekly computer science colloquium program features talks and seminars in various STEM topics. We require full masking as this is a large indoor gathering of significant duration. Please note that the scheduled speaker or event may change. Details of our event can be found here. We collaborate with Pomona College for our Colloquium events; Pomona College Colloquium schedule.