Dr. Laura Voss

Science manager
Former science/technology/society (STS) researcher
Paper collage artist


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More Than Machines?
The Attribution of (In)Animacy to Robot Technology

“We know that robots are just machines. Why then do we often talk about them as if they were alive? Laura Voss explores this fascinating phenomenon, providing a rich insight into practices of animacy (and inanimacy) attribution to robot technology: from science-fiction to robotics R&D, from science communication to media discourse, and from the theoretical perspectives of STS to the cognitive sciences. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective, and backed by a wealth of empirical material, Voss shows how scientists, engineers, journalists – and everyone else – can face the challenge of robot technology appearing »a little bit alive« with a reflexive and yet pragmatic stance.”

An essay reflecting on the interdisciplinary aspects of this research is available here (PDF, in German). It was written in the context of my Andrea von Braun Foundation PhD scholarship.