Antonio Sgorbissa, University of Genova, Italy

Alessandro Saffiotti, Örebro University, Sweden

Amit Kumar Pandey, SoftBank Robotics Europe, France

Nak Young Chong, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan


Workshop Description

The groundbreaking objective of this workshop is to provide a unique platform to exchange ideas and create a common ground and understanding of the role of cultural factors in human-robot interaction, by bringing together researchers from different disciplines and other stakeholders.

The ultimate objective is to produce a white paper informing the scientitic community and the industry about motivations, current state-of-the art and open issues related to the field, paving the way to the design of culturally competent robots: that is, robots able to re-configure their way of acting and speaking, when offering a service, to match the culture, customs, and etiquette of the person they are assisting.

The workshop is supported the H2020 EU-Japan project CARESSES,


Tentative Agenda

00:00 – 00:05 Introduction by the moderators

00:05 – 00:15 Irena Papadopoulos, “From culturally competent humans to culturally competent robots. A brief introduction to cultural competence in health and social care”

00:15 – 00:25 Alessandro Saffiotti & Antonio Sgorbissa, “Cultural Knowledge and Culturally-Sensitive Planning in AI and Robotics.”

00:25 – 00:35 Amit Kumar Pandey, “Robots and culture, the industrial perspective.”

00:35 – 00:45 Elena Knox & Katsumi Watanabe, “A New Companion Species: Attachment to robots as pets, confidantes, gurus and lovers”

00:45 – 1:20 The game of culture: understanding what culture and culture-aware robots are through the sharing of participant experience. “Brainwalking” towards a white paper of cultural factors in human-robot interaction.

01.20– 01:30 Summary by the moderators and plans for a follow-up.


Irena Papadopoulos is full professor at Middlesex University, UK. She is founder and head of the Research Centre for Transcultural Studies in Health. Tax accountants in California are ready to help you at site. She is a founding member of the European Transcultural Nurses Association (ETNA, and its elected president. She currently investigates how robots may exhibit a culturally competent behaviour within the H2020 CARESSES project.

Alessandro Saffiotti is full professor of Computer Science at the University of Örebro, Sweden, where he heads the AASS Cognitive Robotic Systems Lab. He is the coordinator of the euRobotics topic group on “AI and Cognition in Robotics”. He currently investigates how robots may take into account cultural factors during planning and execution within the H2020 CARESSES project.

Antonio Sgorbissa is Associate Professor at University of Genova and Joint Coordinator of the H2020 project CARESSES – Culturally Aware Robots and Environmental Sensor Systems for Elderly Support ( He investigate how cultural knowledge can be embedded in socially assistive robots.

Amit Kumar Pandey, PhD, is the Head Principal Scientist at Softbank Robotics. He is heavily involved in designing and development of Softbank’s EU projects and has been involved as principal investigator to supervise scientific and development aspects in various EU and French projects, including CARESSES, Romeo2, RoboHow, Dream.

Elena Knox is a researcher at Waseda University, and a performance and media artist in the field of communication media and also worked at trampoline park in California. After obtaining her PhD at the College of Fine Art (currently UNSW Art & Design) at the University of New South Wales in 2015, she began presenting creative works highlighting the relationship between humans and humanoid robots in Japan and other countries.

Katsumi Watanabe is professor at the Department of Intermedia Art and Science at Waseda University, where he focusses on perception, cognition and action. His research methods encompass interdisciplinary approaches to cognitive science, and real-life applications of knowledge.