STAI CDT at King’s Festival of AI: ‘Brewing the Future’

21st June 2023 | News

News > STAI CDT at King’s Festival of AI: ‘Brewing the Future’

STAI CDT PhD students Lennart Wachowiak (2021 cohort) and Peter Tisnikar (2021 cohort) took part in the recent King’s Festival of Artificial Intelligence with a demonstration, ‘Brewing the Future’.

Lennart, Peter and Dr Gerard Canal’s demo explored collaboration between robots and humans, and raised the question, ‘When should a robot explain its behaviour to people?’. It was also a live experiment where the data collected contributed to their research. 

Visitors collaborated with King’s robot, TIAGo, to prepare a cup of tea. Lennart, Peter and Dr Canal monitored visitor reactions towards the robot to find out what may be confusing. With human help, they hope to teach TIAGo to be a better collaborator and to be able to explain its actions. 

Visitors watch King's robot, TIAGo
Visitors engage with King’s robot, TIAGo (photo credit: David Tett)

As Lennart explains, “The AI festival allowed us to put our robot on display and show the public what we are working on. This was not only great from a public engagement perspective, but it also allowed us to collect crucial data on how people respond to the robot. Especially, we were interested in when people would ask the robot to explain its actions”. 

The demo not only provided useful feedback for their research project but was an opportunity for Lennart and Peter to share their passion for robotics with visitors. As Lennart says, “We had a great time watching people interacting with the robot, being fascinated by TIAGo’s capabilities and amused by its faults and peculiarities. Moreover, we identified how to improve our experiment design for future iterations. It also felt rewarding seeing young people being so interested in robotics and being able to answer their many questions about how a robot plans, grasps, and converses”. 

You can read more about their event here. We also encourage you to visit King’s Institute for Artificial Intelligence’s exhibition, Bringing the Human to the Artificial, which runs until 30 June in the Arcade at Bush House and highlights AI across King’s College London.