Professor Nigel Crook, Head of Computing and Communication Technologies, Oxford Brooke’s University

The word ‘robot’ originates from an old Slavic word for ‘slave’, and that’s pretty much been their modus operandi in industry to date; they take instruction, don’t deviate and never suggest.  But, in today’s research labs scientists like Nigel are investigating the potential for next generation robots to act independently, make their own decisions, collaborate with humans and even call the shots in the workplace.  Based on recent research at Oxford Brookes University, Nigel investigates latest developments and a possible liberated future for the robot slave:

  • From servitude to collaboration to leadership: Will human workers trust a robot’s judgement?
  • From problem solving to goal setting: Could robots set their own goals and success measures?
  • From executing commands to making judgements: How do we ‘programme’ robots to apply moral, ethical or brand-relevant values?
  • Why collaborate? From remote working to supported problem solving – the potential advantages of a robotic workmate 

Nigel has more than 30 years’ experience as a lecturer in computer science and researcher in AI.  He currently leads research into cognitive robots at Oxford Brookes and is an expert reviewer and evaluator for the European Commission.  His research interests include biologically inspired machine learning, embodied conversational agents, social robotics and human-robot interaction. He graduated in computing and philosophy from Lancaster University and has a PhD in medical expert systems.