My PhD project explores images of ‘the human’ in the field of robotics. I draw on both sociological practice theories and materialist feminist theories as crucial frameworks. These lenses allow for a comprehensive examination of the interplay between various human and non-human elements in the field of robotics. Additionally, I use ethnographic and collaborative methods to explore the ways in which boundaries between humans and non-humans are constituted.
Three central research questions guide my study: Firstly, how are images of ‘the human’ inscribed in the technological architecture of robots? I aim to explore and describe how roboticists refer to ‘the human’ and ‘human sociality’ in the process of designing robots: In what ways are ideas, assumptions, and theories of the human expressed? Secondly, I examine the form ‘the human’ takes on in designing robots: What kind of users are anticipated, and what kind of human is envisioned in modeling a humanoid appearance? And lastly, I reflect on how knowledge practices of robotics contribute to specific social (re-)arrangements. Recognizing the role of technoscientific practices in shaping our world, I strive to identify transformation possibilities empirically.