Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Embodied AI

Punk Bots, Radical Designer!

Bias and Norm Awareness and Détournement Activities to take Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the design of embodied AI


Traditionally, designers and engineers are not trained to include reflection and practices that tackle social inequity; thus —willingly or unwillingly—encode certain (negative) values into the systems they design. At times, designers, developers and engineers claim that the racist, sexist, ableist results of their designs are entirely exterior to the development process and that they have not included judgements, biases, stereotypes and their values into technical systems.

In this workshop, after a brief introduction of the main DEI issues in embodied AI, we are going to engage in a hands-on activity to 1) understand our biases and norms as designers 2) overturn the status quo of robot design using detornament activities inspired by punk techniques by the Letterist international. These activities will help you to crow awareness and implement critical reflexion is your design process.

What are we going to do?

  • Intro to DEI4EmbodiedAI – by team
  • Examining embodied AI Bias and Norms: Hey, oh, let’s not? – by Anne Arzberger and Maria Luce Lupetti
    We will explore personal biases towards gender, by looking at ourselves from a different perspective. We will play around with an AI classifier and datasets to become aware of our own gender biases, to better understand our unconscious associations, and challenge the way we often think in binary, narrow categories.
  • Punkbots against the status bots: turning human-robot interaction scenarios against the status quo – by Cristina Zaga
    We will explore the current human-robot interaction scenarios and challenge the status quo. How? Using a technique developed by the Letterist International to reverse storylines and images according to punk feminist values.
  • Final reflections – team

By dr. Cristina Zaga, dr. Maria Luce Lupetti, Anne Arzberger & DEI4AI collective

Please note, for one of the activities in the workshop we recommend participants to bring their laptop

Cristina Zaga

Cristina Zaga is an Assistant Professor, speaker, and maker of poetic robots. At the Human-Centered Design Group and The DesignLab of the University of Twente, Cristina’s research bridges engineering, design, and social science to develop robotic technology responsibly and in a transdisciplinary fashion. Cristina believes in the power of poetic computation to bring about future-oriented reflection in robot development. Currently, she co-leads a 4TU consortium on co-designing embodied AI (from robots to smart objects, from e-health agents to chatbots) that takes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into account. In the consortium, her research focus bridge engineering practices to design, social science, and citizen participation for responsible DEI in embodied AI.
Her effort in this direction is made concrete by co-developing Responsible Futuring, a transdisciplinary approach to co-shape the future we want to live in. She is regularly invited as a keynote speaker at international and national events (e.g., TEDx, LaserTalks, DDW) and she has organized workshops at HRI, Ro-Man and design conferences. Her award-winning work in Human-Robot Interaction and Responsible Technology has received many academic and societal accolades, for instance the Google Women TechMaker Scholarship 2018 for her research quality and her efforts to make STEM more inclusive to women and children.

Maria Luce Lupetti

Maria Luce Lupetti is a an Assistant Professor at TU Delft. Her research lays at the intersection of design, AI, and robotics. She holds a PhD cum laude in “Production, Management and Design” from Politecnico di Torino, Italy (2018). Her doctoral research, focused on human-robot interaction and play for children, was supported by the Italian telecommunication company TIM. Prior to this position, Maria Luce was a Research Fellow at Amsterdam Metropolitan Solutions Institute (2018-2019)

Anne Arzberger

Anne Arzberger is an interaction design researcher investigating the emerging relationship between AI and human collaborators within creative practices. She is currently finishing a master in Design for Interaction at the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Previously, she graduated in Industrial Design at Pforzheim University, Germany, and spent a semester at UMEA Institute of Design, Sweden. She also worked as designer for Fraunhofer, Mercedes and Festo Didactics.