‘Oh yes, robots! People like robots; the robot people should do something’: perspectives and prospects in public engagement with robotics
Wilkinson, C. print, Bultitude, K. print and Dawson, E. print (2010) ‘Oh yes, robots! People like robots; the robot people should do something’: perspectives and prospects in public engagement with robotics. Science Communication, 33 (3). pp. 367-397. ISSN 1075-5470
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1075547010389818
Governmental and institutional policymaking in a number of countries has embedded public engagement strategies as a primary channel to connect citizens with scientific and technological innovation. Robotics is emerging as a key site for such new technological activity and its applications are likely to be increasingly notable in our lives in coming years. Robotics researchers are investing considerable time and effort in ‘engaging’ publics. Concentrating on the findings of 24 qualitative interviews with those actively organising or engaging publics, across 11 public engagement activities focused on the robotics field within the UK, this paper explores their conceptions of ‘public engagement’, its benefits and constraints. The results suggest that whilst the language of engagement has been embraced there remain practical, conceptual and individual influences on the level of engagement which is experienced.
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