THINK TANK #2: the Future of Human/Robot Relationships & Conflicts with Dan Chen

What We’ll Cover

The goal of this interactive Think Tank is to explore several implications of creating the next generation of robots that technologists, scientists, ethicists and governments are grappling with today. Using the 2014 scifi movie Automata as a guide for a cross-disciplinary, interactive discussion covering robot ethics, algorithmic biases, robot/human intimacy (physical and emotional), the robot workforce, our expert guest speaker, Dan Chen, will walk us through how he and experts are defining how we will live and work with robots now and in the future. We’ll also discuss some of the problems and concerns that need to be addressed and opportunities for everyone to participate in defining how robots are integrated into society.

And of course, we’ll explore the big question: What are the unintended consequences we may face building robots that can be hacked to achieve self-actualization, self-repair, or that can be programmed to harm people?

Dan Chen designs human machines. He is an interaction designer, a roboticist, a technology investigator, and engineer who experiments with new ways of people engaging with robots. He designs technology that explores human/machine interaction, identity, and augmented intimacy. Read his full bio below (yaaay Dan!).  

This is a non-technical event. Anyone and everyone can participate: marketers, advertisers, developers, engineers, product managers, investors, data analysts, students, policy wonks, aliens from Mars or any other part of the Universe — all are welcome! Lite food and beverages served.


Dan Chen
Guest Speaker: Dan Chen (roboticist, designer, technology investigator, engineer)
Charlie Oliver
Charlie Oliver (Founder/CEO of Tech 2025, innovation strategist)


The Movie: Automata

If you Google “Automata,” two different Wikipedia entries defining the word appears at the top of the search results:

(1)   Automata theory — the study of abstract machines and automata, as well as the computational problems that can be solved using them. It is a theory in theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics (a subject of study in both mathematics and computer science). The word automata (the plural of automaton) comes from the Greek word αὐτόματα, which means “self-acting.

(2)   Autómata Movie — a 2014 Spanish-Bulgarian science fiction action film starring Antonio Banderas. In the year 2044, Jacq Vaucan (played by Banderas) – an insurance investigator for ROC, a company that manufactures Pilgrims (worker robots that have two unalterable protocols: they cannot harm any form of life, and they may not repair, modify or alter themselves or other robots in any way), discovers that someone is illegally modifying the robots to override the robot’s second protocol to not repair itself or other robots. This, it turns out is a big threat to humanity.

Don’t let the bad reviews fool you. Most reviews highlight the fact that the film disappointingly relies on tired scifi Hollywood cliches that go nowhere. But if there’s one thing that most critics who reviewed this movie agree on, it’s that this film (despite its shortcomings) is full of extremely compelling ideas and questions about the eventual dominance of robots in our near-future society (several critics have called the presentation of the ideas brilliant). They also agree that it is a visually stunning film depicting a dystopia and various classifications of robots that will give us much food for thought.

About Dan Chen

Dan ChenDan Chen is an interaction designer, technology investigator and engineer.

He has several degrees including a MAS from MIT, an MFA in digital media from RISD and a BFA in communication design from UConn. He has over 7 years of design experience. Previous positions include Senior Designer at IDEO, Interaction Designer at Johnson & Johnson, Product Designer The Economist Group and Web Designer at Morningstar Inc.

His personal work has been featured in CNET, The Huffington Post, the verge, Engadget and Daily Mail. Dan was invited as a speaker at TEDx Viennam, RISD, Brown University and School of Visual Arts. His work was exhibited in Vitra Design Museum, MAK Wien, Design Museum Gent & Ars Electronica.

Working in the realms of robotics, communication design, interaction design and product design, Dan explores the new ways of communication and human experience through working prototypes and storytelling, inviting a reflective evaluation and implication.

 Follow Dan:  LinkedIn:  /  Facebook:  /  YouTube:

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Start Time

6:00 pm

November 29, 2017

Finish Time

8:30 pm

November 29, 2017


Infinito Gallery, 79 Leonard Street, NY, NY 10013