School of Informatics
Erik Lagerstedt defends his PhD thesis "Perceiving Agents:Pluralism, interaction, and existence".
The PhD thesis defence will be held in Room D107 at the University of Skövde.
Join the livestream: https://his-se.zoom.us/j/69433129980?pwd=bXJRbkZBZjJnQ2I1eHQ0YWxJcVhkZz09
Perception is a vast subject to study. One way to approach and study it might therefore be to break down the concept into smaller pieces. Specific modes of sensation, mechanisms, phenomena, or contexts might be selected as the proxy or starting point for addressing perception as a whole. Another approach would be to widen the concept, and attempt to study perception through the larger context of which it is a part. I have, in this thesis, attempted the latter strategy, by emphasising an existential perspective, and examine the role and nature of perception through that lens.
The larger perspective of broadening the scope does not specifically allow for better answers, but rather different kinds of answers, providing complementary ways of exploring what it means to be an artificial or natural agent, and what consequences that can have for the access to, as well as representation, processing, and communication of information. A broader stance can also facilitate exploration of questions regarding larger perspectives, such as the relation between individual agents, as well as their place in larger structures such as societies and cyber-physical systems.
In this thesis I use existential phenomenology to frame the concept of perception, while drawing from theories in biology and psychology. My work has a particular focus on human-robot interaction, a field of study at a fascinating intersection of humans designing, using, and communicating with something human-made, partially human-like, yet distinctly non-human. The work is also applied to some aspects of the traffic domain which, given the increasing interest in self-driving vehicles, is partially another instance of complex and naturalistic human-robot interaction.
Ultimately, I argue for a pluralistic and pragmatic approach to the understanding of perception, and its related concepts. To understand a system of agents as they interact, it is not only necessary to acknowledge their respective circumstances, but take serious the idea that none of the agents’ constructed worlds are more or less real, they might only be more or less relevant in relation to specific contexts, perspectives, or needs. Such an approach is particularly relevant when addressing the complexities of the increasingly urgent sustainability challenges.
Serge Thill, Associate Professor, Radboud University
Maria Riveiro, Professor, Jönköping University
Paul Hemeren, Associate Professor, University of Skövde
Ron Chrisley, Professor, University of Sussex
Joeri van Laere, Professor, University of Skövde
Silvia Rossi, Associate Professor, University of Naples Federico II
Loïs Vanhée, Associate Professor, Umeå University
School of Informatics