Gabriel Skantze

This week in robots in depth

Gabriel Skantze is co-founder and Chief Scientist at Furhat Robotics and Professor in speech technology at KTH with a specialization in conversational systems.

In this interview, Gabriel talks about how the social robot revolution makes it necessary to communicate with humans in a human ways through speech and facial expressions. This is necessary as we expand the number of people that interact with robots as well as the types of interaction.

Get to know more about Gabriel Skantze

What first got you passionate about robotics and what most excites you know?

The most exciting thing for me about robots is their physical presence, which makes the interaction so much more engaging, compared to for example voice assistants or virtual characters.

What's the biggest misconception people have about robots? What's surprised you?

That they will take our jobs. On the contrary, they will complement us humans and work together with us.

What advice would you give to your younger self or someone getting into the field now?

To be able to create robots that can interact with humans, understanding the engineering and mathematics is of course very important, but it is equally important to understand the humans aspects. Take courses in psychology, linguistics and cognitive science.

Where will we see robots in 15 years and what do we need to do to get there?

Today, robots can only work with one task (or a limited sets of tasks), and they have to be specifically programmed for each task. In the future, we should be able to teach robots by talking to them, just like you do with a human, and they should be able to improve from their own experience.

What would you like your legacy to be?

To be part of creating the world's most widely used platform for social robotics.

Gabriel Skantze

Gabriel Skantze is a Professor in speech technology with a specialization in dialog systems at the Division of Speech Music and Hearing at KTH. His research on dialogue systems and human-robot interaction during the last 15 years has resulted in multiple nominations and awards for best papers at conferences. He is currently leading several interdisciplinary projects related to the use of machine learning for modelling conversational interaction, as well as studies on how humans behave when they interact with robots. He is also co-founder and chief scientist of the company Furhat Robotics, which develops a software and hardware platform for social robotics.

Link to my webpage at KTHLink to Furhat Robotics

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