Empathy swarm

QUT Art Museum

Can a robot feel empathy? Find out in Empathy swarm, a fascinating new free exhibition that explores human-machine relationships at QUT Art Museum, from Aug 17-Oct 27.

Empathy swarm is the culmination of a European research project lead by artists Katrin Hochschuh and Adam Donovan to examine whether non-anthropomorphic robots can also produce sympathetic feelings.

Visitors are invited to enter a dark room occupied by a swarm of 50 glowing robots that as a whole can adapt its behaviour and respond to a person’s emotional feedback. Within this physical environment Hochschuh and Donovan build on psychologists' findings to demonstrate how easy it is for the human brain to become emotionally attached to inanimate objects, and how our brains are hard-wired for compassion.

The artists use emotion recognition algorithms and camera tracking, performing social experiments with participants to develop formations, animations and behaviours which become the vocabulary of swarm expression.

Katrin Hochschuh explains, “The robots experience themselves and their environment in the form of different radii – it is like with us humans in social situations, we have an interest radius but also a radius of privacy which both change with our moods. Depending on these radii we are attracted to someone or need more space for ourselves. The robots react in exactly the same way and express their needs and emotions through their movement.”

Need to know - The opening weekend of Empathy swarm coincides with QUT’s free robotics and technology festival Robotronica on Sunday 18 August.  Empathy swarm will be open to the public from 10am during the festival, with a free artist talk presented by Katrin Hochschuh and Adam Donovan at 11am. Exhibition opening night is Friday 16 August from 6-8pm, with light canapes and refreshments provided. RSVP essential.

QUT is a valued partner of Must Do Brisbane.com

QUT Art Museum

2 George St

Brisbane

Aug 17-Oct 27

Tue-Fri 10-5

Sat-Sun 12-4

Free entry

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