Animistic Design

Animism in Design: How Much Human is Too Much?

How much humanity should your physical twin have? The closer we get to reality, the further it feels from our grasp. As we try to bypass the uncanny valley, some of our efforts can be perceived as ‘creepy’. At what point do we stop feeling comfortable with a certain amount of animism in our technological assistants? It’s worth taking a moment to examine the reasoning behind their design.

When you design a robot to interact with, its form is less important than how it moves and reacts; the gestures that make it ‘alive’. But how alive it actually is makes for a very thin line. Should the physical construction therefore be purposely not human? So that, as a user, you’re understanding that this is a creature, but a digital creature.

Join a panel of designers, thinkers, and innovators to explore what animism in robotic design can and will look like. How much of the physical – both in gesture and structure – should be considered when creating technology that is additive to our daily lives? We’ll examine the philosophy and emotion that lies just under the surface, as well as look at some real-world prototypes disrupting the space.

Guus Baggermans

Guus Baggermans is a principal designer at argodesign, directing the design of public transport and tourism programs, and also responsible for experimenting with the latest technologies in design simulations. For the past 2 years, he’s been the design lead for argo’s work with DreamWorks, helping create a unique collaboration while working through the pandemic and overseeing the creation of multiple different apps and a DLS for the remote development team. He was previously a co-founder of Raft, a strategy and design consultancy in Amsterdam, and an interaction designer at frog, helping companies in sectors such as telecommunication, automotive, and handset manufacturers.

Phil van Allen

Philip van Allen is Program Coordinator/Researcher AI at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) working to build a long-term research effort for the design of Artificial Intelligence.

With a background in Cognitive Psychology and software, Phil is a researcher, educator, and consultant with experience in startup, corporate, entertainment, research, and academic contexts. He works at the intersection of tangible interaction, AI/ML, IoT, and the new ecologies these create. He has developed an approach to the design of AI called Animistic Design which gives diverse, fictional personalties to smart things. In addition, he focuses on the prototyping of smart things, and created the Delft AI Toolkit — a no-code, visual authoring system for sketching and prototyping smart things.

Irene Alcubilla Troughton

Irene Alcubilla Troughton is a PhD candidate at Utrecht University within the Acting Like a Robot Project, where she researches what theatre, performance and dance have to offer to the development of human-robot interaction and the design of robot behaviour. She holds two RMA degrees in Media, Art and Performance (UU), and Theory and Critique of Culture (Carlos III University). Other interests of her lay on embodied cognition, posthumanism, phenomenology, critical disability studies and queer studies.

More to be announced

Moderated by Monique van Dusseldorp