Presenters


Daniel White

Daniel White is Associate Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge and a Grant Writer for Kōkua Kalihi Valley, a federally qualified community health center in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. He researchers the emotional impacts of human-technology relations, with a regional focus on Japan. Currently he is co-organizing an ethnographic research project called Model Emotion, where he works across disciplines with anthropologists, psychologists, computer scientists, and robotics engineers to document the role of cultural diversity in building machines with artificial emotional intelligence and capacities for care. He is also the author of Administering Affect: Pop-Culture Japan and the Politics of Anxiety (Stanford University Press, 2022). Other publications can be found in the journals Cultural Anthropology, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and on his online project page at modelemotion.org.


James Wright

James Wright is a Programme Specialist in UNESCO’s Bioethics and Ethics of Science and Technology Section, and Visiting Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology and science and technology studies from the University of Hong Kong in 2018. His current work focuses on the ethics and governance of AI, and his research interests also include the development and use of robots, AI, and other digital technologies for elder care. His first book, entitled Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation, was published in 2023 by Cornell University Press.


Callan Sait

A cultural anthropologist by training, Callan Sait was born, raised, and educated in Te Whanganui a Tara, Aotearoa – now known as Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand – home to mana whenua (local indigenous Māori tribes) Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Te Ati Awa Taranaki Whānui. He now resides in Tokyo, Japan, where he is a Visiting Associate Professor of anthropology in the Society, Culture and Media department at International Christian University (ICU). He has personal and professional interests in technologies of various kinds, ranging from those for personal entertainment to physical assistance and large-scale manufacturing, focusing primarily on the relationships humans develop with them, and the human-human relationships these technologies can facilitate or complicate. He is also interested in both the philosophical and practical underpinnings of care work, especially for disabled people. His MA research investigated the diverse ways that various assistive technologies influence disabled people’s perceptions of their bodies, their sense of self, and their social relationships. Most recently, his PhD extended this area of research by focusing on a broader range of technologies and the ways they interact with grounded conceptualisations and enactments of "good care" in long-term eldercare institutions in Japan. By interrogating what "good care" means both conceptually and in practice, and by focusing on a much broader range of technologies beyond those specifically designed for the support of physical impairment, this research revealed that different stakeholders (designers, engineers, care staff, and elderly people) can often have vastly different ideas of what care means, and what is an appropriate form of technological support. Often, care technologies require more care labour than they provide, and technologies that are not designed for care can be co-opted in "care-full" ways.


Anne Aronsson

Anne Aronsson is an anthropologist of Japan and obtained her PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from Yale University. She was a postdoctoral fellow with a Suslowa-Postdoc-Fellowship grant at the University of Zurich in Switzerland where she taught a seminar course “Global Processes in East Asia.” From 2021 to 2023 Anne continued her postdoctoral research at Yale on elder care in Japan and the use of robotic care devices, with a focus on social robots and emerging emotional technologies. At Yale she taught four graduate seminar courses as well as two doctoral writing workshops. Currently she is affiliated with the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Research interests include aging, life-course studies, emotional technologies, artificial intelligence, robots, and Japan. Anne has authored several publications, including "Theorizing the Real in Social Robot Care Technologies in Japan" in East Asian Science, Technology and Society; “Social Robots in Elderly Care: The Turn Toward Machines in Contemporary Japan,” in the special issue “Relations, Entanglements, and Enmeshments of Humans and Things: A Materiality Perspective” in Japanese Review of Cultural Anthropology; “Conceptualizing Robotic Agency: Social Robots in Elder Care in Contemporary Japan” and introductory chapter in the special issue “Finding Agency in Nonhumans” published in Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism based on an international conference organized together with Fynn Holm and Melissa Kaul at the University of Zurich; “Multispecies Entanglements in the Virosphere: Rethinking the Anthropocene in Light of the 2019 Coronavirus Outbreak,” co-authored with Fynn and published in The Anthropocene Review; and her monograph Career Women in Contemporary Japan: Pursuing Identities, Fashioning Lives published with Routledge Contemporary Japan Series.


Giulia de Togni

Giulia De Togni is an interdisciplinary social scientist specializing in Science and Technology Studies, and holding degrees in Social Anthropology (PhD, MSc), Japanese Studies (MSt, MPhil), and Legal Studies (BA). She is currently a Chancellor’s Fellow in Responsible AI and Robotics Innovation in Healthcare at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, having worked there since 2019 on the Wellcome Trust-funded project “AI and Health,” and since 2022 as Principal Investigator on the Wellcome Trust-funded project “Caring Machines.” The project "Caring Machines" involved extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the UK and Japan, including 14 months split into two seven-month blocks in each country. During this time, De Togni conducted 80 interviews with AI experts, robotics engineers, and end-users (care workers and care recipients); and observation sessions for 40 weeks at robotics laboratories and assisted living facilities in the two countries. Through comparing her collaborators’ perspectives on and lived experiences of these technologies, De Togni offers a novel cross-cultural study that aims to inform responsible innovation through shedding light on the social and ethical dimensions of AI and robotic technologies for healthcare. This research offers insights into the benefits, challenges, and broader implications of these technologies for individuals and society. Ultimately, it will help shape decision-making in the field of AI and robotics for healthcare, and ensure that these technologies become more inclusive, accessible, and fairer. Throughout the course of her Fellowship, De Togni has established collaborations with the Alan Turing Institute, Edinburgh Informatics, Heriot-Watt University, National Robotarium, Bayes Centre, University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Tohoku University, Kyoto University, Osaka University, AIST, JST, and RIKEN.


Jorge Luis Copete Vasco

Jorge Luis Copete has a bachelor of Electronic engineering from Universidad del Valle, Colombia. Awarded a scholarship by Japanese MEXT, he completed a Master of Engineering at Osaka University, Japan focused on developmental robotics which integrates robotics, machine learning, and human science. His main research topic is the role of multimodal integration of sensory signals in action goal prediction. He conducted a short-term collaboration project during his research stay in Germany and joined courses on humanoid robotics in Italy. He works as a freelancer developing software for start-up projects in Japan creating XR technology applications, and applications managing CO2 emission data.


Hidenobu Sumioka

Sumioka received the Ph.D. degrees in engineering from Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, in 2008. From April 2008, he was a Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS fellow, DC2). From April 2009, he was a researcher at Artificial intelligence Laboratory directed by Prof. Rolf Pfeifer. Since January 2012, he has been a researcher at Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR). Currently, he is the leader of Presence Media Research Group in Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories, ATR. He is also an associate professor, Graduate School of Intercultural studies, Kobe University from 2016. His research interests include human-robot touch interaction, application of a social robot to elderly care, influence of social robot in brain activity, information theory.


Angelina Chin

Angelina Chin is Associate Professor of History at Pomona College. Her research interests revolve around transformations of urban identity and citizenship, as well as transregional connections in China and Japan. She is working on a project on the Independent Living Movements in East Asia and the development of assistive technologies for disabled and elderly people around the world. She was awarded with the Abe Fellowship in 2018 for for elderly and disabled people in Japan and the PRC and investigate the implications of such development for both societies.


Selma Sabanovic

Selma Šabanović is a Professor of Informatics and Cognitive Science. She studies social robotics and human-robot interaction, exploring how people envision robots in their daily lives and how robots should be designed to assist people in various use contexts, including mental health, wellness, education, and social participation. She works with current and potential robot users of all ages, from children to older adults, and in various cultures, including East Asia, Europe, and the US. Her work incorporates field and lab studies of people’s interactions with robots, as well as participatory design with diverse groups of potential users. She served as the Editor in Chief of the ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction from 2017-2024, and is currently serving as the General Co-Chair of the IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 2024). She also serves as the Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs for the Luddy School. She has been a visiting researcher at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute (USA), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba (Japan), and the Center for Cognitive Interaction Technology at Bielefeld University (Germany). She received her PhD in Science and Technology Studies in 2007 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Masahiro Shiomi

Masahiro Shiomi is a senior research scientist and a group leader of the Agent Interaction Design Laboratory at the Interaction Science Laboratories at Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, Kyoto, Japan. He is also a visiting professor at Kobe University. He received his M. Eng, and Ph. D. degrees in engineering from Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, in 2004, and 2007, respectively. His research interests include human-robot interaction, social touch interaction, robotics for childcare, and multiple social robots


Andrew Wilson

Andrew T. Wilson is a computer science researcher specializing in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR); he currently serves as the Director of Research Computing at Pomona College. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Liverpool and an M.Sc in Archaeological Computing from the University of Southampton, with a focus on 3D visualization and image processing. Wilson's work at Pomona College involves pioneering the integration of VR and AR technologies in research and education, demonstrating their practical applications in enhancing learning experiences and accessibility. His collaborative efforts with psychologists at Carleton College are particularly noteworthy. Here, he developed VR simulations to replicate the experiences of students with schizophrenia, contributing to empathy studies and understanding mental health challenges from a first-person perspective. Additionally, Dr. Wilson led a project developing a VR system for PTSD research, examining long-term memory embedment of traumatic experiences. This innovative approach to psychological studies showcases his ability to apply VR technology to understand and potentially mitigate the impacts of mental health issues. His current research, titled "Bridging the Gap: Overcoming Accessibility Challenges in Extended Reality," highlights his commitment to enhancing accessibility in XR environments. This study focuses on identifying and addressing accessibility challenges within XR, particularly for elderly users and those with disabilities. It emphasizes the importance of standards set by organizations like IEEE in shaping accessible XR development and advocates for a collaborative approach involving developers, designers, end-users, and disability advocates. Dr. Wilson's technical expertise spans programming languages, database management, GIS, and remote sensing. His professional and academic experiences give him a comprehensive perspective on the technical, commercial, and educational aspects of technology development.


Li Liu

Li Liu, Ph.D., is currently a professor of computer science at California State University Northridge (CSUN). His research interests include accessible computing and assistive technology. He co-founded A11Y+ at CSUN, which improves the accessibility for people with disabilities when they interact with new computing devices and emerging digital content and engages students with disabilities in research. His work on building a tongue-machine interface is the first one reported on using the tongue as a computer input device in a non-contact way. Research projects at CSUN A11Y+ have been funded by Amazon, the Army Research Office, Disability Communication Fund, NASA, NSF, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, USDA, etc. At CSUN, Liu also directs the Master of Science in Assistive Technology Engineering program, a unique degree in the nation that prepares graduates to become innovative and cross-field team leaders in assistive technology.


Robin Rosculete

Robin Rosculete is an undergraduate student majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics at California State University, Northridge. He aspires to pursue a Master's focused on Machine Learning, aiming for a career as a data scientist or machine learning researcher. Robin's specific passion lies in large language models and computer vision. Alongside his academic work, he actively contributes as an Instructional Student Assistant at CSUN, enhancing students' understanding of subjects like Probability Theory and Linear Algebra. He also plays an important role as an Associate Researcher at ARCS, contributing to a NASA-sponsored project in computer vision. Robin's commitment extends to practical experiences, such as being a Webmaster for ACM at CSUN and a Software Engineer Intern at Conspire Commerce.


Gagik Papoyan

Gagik Papoyan is a graduating senior at California State University of Northridge, and is to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Throughout his academic journey, Gagik has interests in exploring technology, particularly machine learning/AI, web development, and mobile development. During his time as an undergraduate, he worked on various projects and practical applications, to better his understanding for future ones such as AAC SARGIK. Previous projects and research he has worked on include Gravitational Wave Detection through machine learning, and a simple but effective single page web application. These ideas combined, will better help the polished product and future maintenance of AAC SARGIK. He is currently expanding his horizons on HCI/HMI (Human Computer Interactions), to better visualize and complete the team’s speech assistance project.


Suma Ikeuchi

Suma Ikeuchi is an interdisciplinary scholar of Transnational Japanese Studies, whose scholarship engages cultural anthropology, migration studies, religious studies, Asian studies, and science & technology studies. She works as an associate professor in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her current project is about Filipina migrant caregivers and eldercare technologies in aging Japan.


Maria Meyer

Maria Meyer is a dedicated professional working as an advisor at the Knowledge Center for Welfare Technology. With a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy and vocational pedagogy, Maria has a solid background in her expertise. Her primary role is to implement welfare technologies in educational programs within the Social and health care education throughout Denmark. Throughout her career, Maria has held various roles as a physiotherapist, educator, and advisor, constantly focusing on improving people's lives. Her practical experience covers various areas within the social and healthcare sector, including rehabilitation, teaching, and project management. Maria's professional journey includes different roles as a neurological and geriatric physiotherapist. Additionally, she has also held the position of local rehabilitation manager within home care in Roskilde municipality, gaining experience from both hospitals and the municipal healthcare system. Her responsibilities have evolved over time, now also encompassing strategic and developmental aspects at the municipal and educational levels. As a passionate advocate for physical training and rehabilitation, Maria focuses on helping people restore or improve their functional abilities and quality of life after illness, or disability. She emphasizes user involvement, empowerment, and motivation and incorporates elements such as self-determination, autonomy, self-understanding, and the relationship between learning and motivation in her individual approach. Maria also has a keen interest in welfare technology and its potential to enhance quality of life and coping skills. In her role as department leader, Maria Meyer has played a crucial role in the development of training protocols, implementation of revisions, and supervision of the daily operations of a team of rehabilitation therapists. She has actively contributed to strategic rehabilitation initiatives at both the municipal and regional levels, making contributions to the development of rehabilitation in Roskilde municipality. With expertise in health promotion, rehabilitation, and welfare technology within social and healthcare education, Maria is actively involved in educating of social and healthcare professionals. Her focus on didactics aims to strengthen students' motivation and skills within the social and healthcare sector. Maria is a driving force in promoting innovation and welfare technology within social and healthcare education at the Knowledge Center for Welfare Technology. She recognizes the crucial role that innovation play in societal development and strives to equip students with the necessary skills to meet society's changing needs and challenges. Maria emphasizes the connection between user needs and the development of welfare technology, encouraging creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and technological understanding among students.


Jeanne Juul Jensen

Jeanne is an experienced occupational therapist with a master's degree in public health. Throughout her career, Jeanne has excelled as a consultant and educator in assistive technology and is currently affiliated with the Knowledge Center for Assistive Technology in Denmark. In this role, she coordinates the planning, implementation, and support for innovative projects and activities. As an educator, Jeanne has not only imparted knowledge but also inspired students in social and healthcare disciplines. Her teaching encompasses rehabilitation, health promotion and prevention, as well as the integration of assistive technology. Her specific areas of interest lie within public health, occupational therapy, and assistive technology. Jeanne's commitment to public health stems from her desire to understand and influence health at a societal level. She is particularly driven to implement technology to enhance the quality of life for individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Jeanne's passion for helping individuals recover their health and achieve a high quality of life motivates her to delve into this field and collaborate with partners to find innovative solutions. Her focus has been on integrating technology into the rehabilitation process, with a particular emphasis on technologies that increase individual independence while improving the working environment for frontline personnel. With her expertise and dedication in public health, occupational therapy, and assistive technology, Jeanne is a valuable resource in these areas. She has devoted her career to improving people's quality of life through a combination of rehabilitation and technology, and seeks to make a positive difference in society by applying her knowledge and experience to enhance people's lives. Her professional journey has shaped her expertise and influence in the field.


Chau Vu

Chau Vu is a sophomore at Pomona College, pursuing a major in Computer Science. Chau has a keen interest in robotic artificial intelligence, ethical machine learning algorithms, and research on assistive technology in healthcare.

Sponsors

Co-sponsors: Abe Fellowship Program, Pomona College History Department, the Ena Thompson Fund, the Westergaard Fund, the Rockoff Student Research Grant, and the Pacific Basin Institute. For inquiries, please contact Angelina Chin (History) with questions at angelina.chin@pomona.edu

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