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The words of robotics: a rhetorical approach

Céline Pieters 1
1 LAAS-GEPETTO - Équipe Mouvement des Systèmes Anthropomorphes
LAAS - Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes
Abstract : How do humans talk about robotics? What are the impacts on the discipline of robotics itself and are there alternatives to think and talk about robots? This thesis provides an interdisciplinary approach for the treatment of natural language in robotics. It combines rhetoric and robotics as well as linguistics and cognitive sciences in order to describe the role of natural language in humans’ perception of robots. In the first chapter, the two main disciplines that are associated within this research are presented: the field of robotics is introduced through the notion of movement, while the discipline of rhetoric is described in its technical dimension. We consider the analogy between ancient rhetoric and mechanics and outline the reasons of the association of classical rhetoric and contemporary robotics. With the context set, we move on to the next chapter dedicated to the study of the bond between the perception of motion and the natural language used to describe robots. In order to better understand the role of natural language in the way that humans perceive robots, a cognitive and a linguistic approach of the problematics are presented. Following those considerations, the problem of ambiguity in language appears as an important concern in robotics. Consequently, the nature of the lexicon used to talk about robots is closely examined and the various strategies in use to handle a lexicon of such nature are discussed. Yet, we also note that the relation between moving machines and language is not a problem of the logos on its own (i.e. a matter of lexicon, arguments, etc.). Indeed, we show that, beyond the words used to talk about robots, the discourses about robotics address one’s own conception of rationality. We illustrate this statement through a rhetorical experiment conducted at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (Paris, 2019).
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Céline Pieters. The words of robotics: a rhetorical approach. Automatic. Institut national des sciences appliquées de Toulouse; Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.), Belgium, 2020. English. ⟨tel-03094969⟩

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