Westworld Season 2

Great news here at Dreaming Robots as we’ve just been able to confirm with Sky Atlantic and NowTV that we will live tweeting again as each episode goes out of the new series of HBO’s completely fantastic Westworld, starting with the Season 2 premiere on 23 April.

We’re very keen for the reboot of Westworld and that we’ll be able to bring you commentary on all the action, as we did with Season 1. See, for example, some out Twitter moments collected here: our Episode 1 (Season 1) Superguide.

WestworldS2KeyArt-1(We didn’t quite manage a superguide for every episode last time; we got them for Episodes 1, 2, 3, and 9, but we’ll aim to get every episode covered this time around!)

We hope that everyone will appreciate the extra ideas and content that the Sheffield Robotics team, Tony Prescott and Michael Szollosy, can bring to a series already rich in imagination and challenging issues.

Look for our tweets and the other announcements related to Westworld by following @DreamingRobots here.

In the meantime, here are some of Dreaming Robots posts from Season 1 of Westworld, to re-kindle your interest and get you ready for Season 2:

The Ford Factor: Mad scientists and corporate villains

The New Westworld: Dehumanising the human; humanising the machine

And of course, the trailer for Season 2 of Westworld:


Science in Public Conference 2017 – CFPs


Science in Public 2017

Science, Technology & Humanity

11th Annual Science in Public Conference

10th-12th July 2017, University of Sheffield. #SIPsheff17

Call for Papers (closes 18 April)

Conference info: https://scienceinpublic.org/science-in-public-2017/

A full list of panel and calls for papers can be found here: http://sipsheff17.group.shef.ac.uk/index.php?option=24

Dreaming Robots is associated with two panels in particular, to which we would like to draw your attention:

— Robots, AI, & the question of ‘e-persons’ —

In January, the European Parliament voted to accept a draft report with recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics. Among the recommendations of this report was a proposal to create a new legal category for robots, that of ‘electronic persons’ that would have ‘specific rights and obligations, including that of making good any damage they may cause’.

We propose a panel that would look in more detail at this category of ‘electronic persons’: the feasibility, the usefulness (or otherwise) and the implications (social, economic, ethical, philosophical) for both these new electronic persons and the more traditional, fleshy sort. We would seek papers and contributions from a wide-range of disciplines and from inter-disciplinary research. We would seek to understand the concept of ‘electronic personhood’, in its specific (and potential future) contexts in legislation, in the context of the reports wider recommendations and for humans and human society more generally. Post-Brexit, we may also ask what the implications of this decision by the European Parliament might be for the UK, if any, and whether the UK should adopt similar measures, or something different.

For enquires, questions, please email Dr. Michael Szollosy m.szollosy@sheffield.ac.uk


— Augmenting the Body —

Body augmentation takes many forms, whether personal adaptation or the rehabilitation of those with disabilities, and ranges across the physical, cognitive, philosophical and technological. It also questions the constitution of norms and the status and viability of the body when considered in terms of its presence, boundaries and activities. We would like to create a panel that invites cross-disciplinary research into ideas of augmentation; rather than strictly technical work, we would invite perspectives on how ideas of augmentation are reflected in and are influenced by cultural narratives that drive contemporary obsessions with robots and a posthuman space ‘beyond’ conventional apprehensions of the body and selfhood. We are open to a broad understanding of augmentation, including ideas of care and psychological wellbeing, as well questions relating to technology and the cyborg/biohybrid body, and will focus on both physical and cognitive augmentation in exploring the interaction of the human and non-human.

For enquires, questions, please email Prof. Stuart Murray S.F.Murray@leeds.ac.uk


Submit 300-word proposals for any panel here: http://sipsheff17.group.shef.ac.uk/


Workshop on Cyberselves in Immersive Technologies, 14 & 15 Oct, Oxford

Dreaming Robots is happily and heavily involved in the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project, Cyberselves in Immersive Technologies, who are hosting, together with the Oxford Martin School, a two-day symposium on virtual reality and telepresence.

The symposium is sponsored by and  and will be hosted at the University of Oxford on the 14th and 15th October 2015.

For further details and to book online go to https://v1.bookwhen.com/uehiro

For a look at the full programme, please visit the Cyberselves blog here.

An overview is included below:

Our symposium will be multi-disciplinary with contributions from technologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers and cultural theorists looking at the future societal and ethical impacts of virtual reality and immersive technologies.

Technology demonstration: After the symposium has ended on the first day, there will be a showcase of new technologies and current research into virtual reality, augmented reality and teleoperation (approximately 5.30pm on 14th October).

Venue: Oxford Martin School, Broad Street, Oxford
Date and time: 14th and 15th October 2015, 9.30-4.30 (timing tbc on finalised programme)
Booking: Free to attend and all welcome, however booking is required.

Programme overview:


· Dr Johnny Hartz Søraker: ‘Virtual Environments and Subjective Well-being’

· Prof Henrik Ehrsson: ‘Neural substrates of senses of body ownership and self location’
· Dr Orit Halpern: ‘The Smart Mandate: A Brief History of Ubiquitous Computing and Responsive Environments’
· Prof JoAnn Difede: ‘On the precipice of a paradigm shift: Novel therapeutics for PTSD and Anxiety disorders’


Dr Blay Whitby: ‘Virtually anything goes: what, if any, are the ethical limits on behaviour in virtual worlds?’
Prof Ralph Schroeder: ‘Ethical and Social Issues in Shared Virtual Environments Revisited’
Prof Patrick Haggard: ‘Re-engineering the relation between self and body: private experience and public space’
Prof Paul Verschure: TBC
Prof Jonathan Freeman: TBC
Dr Tom TylerCyberselves symposium 2015 Programme: ‘How to Lose at Videogames (Repeatedly)’

Robosapiens Film Series Launch


After a brief summer-slumber, Dreaming Robots is back with the exciting news that Robosapiens is about to launch at the Showroom cinema in Sheffield.

Robosapiens will be a monthly film series that will showcase films about robots, virtual reality, artificial intelligence. Hosted by Sheffield Robotics, and funded in part by the University of Sheffield and the AHRC-funded project, Cyberselves in Immersive Technologies, each film will be introduced by an expert in the field and will be accompanied by hands-on demonstrations of new and exciting technology.

Here is the Showroom’s blurb:

Science fiction is the mirror of our future selves. Join us to explore how the future technologies of the self – virtual reality, remote presence, robotics – are imagined and reflected in film. With introductions by leading experts, and sneak previews of the latest innovations, we’ll explore how real technologies are shaping our aspirations and anxieties, and how the imaged technologies of our movie dreams and nightmares may be becoming real. Will homosapiens give way to robosapiens? Come along and find out. All welcome.

The first film in our series will be Avatar, on Tuesday 29 September, and will be introduced by Sheffield Robotic’s Professor Tony Prescott at 6pm. avatar

Join us early, as from 5pm Sheffield Robotics and others from the University of Sheffield will be on hand to demonstrate some of the latest innovations in virtual reality and telepresence. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Professor Prescott and another chance to see the technology that brings the ideas in the film closer to reality, and talk to Sheffield Robotics’ team of researchers and engineers.

Other films in the Robosapiens series include David Cronenberg’s reality-bending Existenz on Tuesday, 20 October, the iconic Metropolis on Tuesday, 24 November (showing as pat of Sheffield’s contribution to the national Being Human festival), and the Japanese animation Ghost in the Shell on Monday, 14 December.

So join us for Avatar and a unique film series that questions the limits of technology and our own humanity.

Get ready for… ‘Humans’

Since we first got wind of the Swedish series Real Humans, we at Dreaming Robots have long been longing for the début of the UK version (though we’d still like to see the original sometime, I hope someone is listening…)

Wait no longer.

Humans gets its premier tomorrow night in the UK on Channel 4. And it looks as though it will live up to its promise, conveyed in a super-slick marketing campaign. (See the very-real looking ads, below, and the trailer, at the bottom.)

persona synthetics

Reviews will follow soon after. However, you can follow all the action live as a team from Sheffield Robotics (@ShefRobotics) will be tweeting live during the first episode, including our Director, Tony Prescott (@tonyjprescott) and, of course your very own @DreamingRobots. And more, to be sure. Follow us (link on the right) to keep up with all the action.

Watch the programme and follow #humans for commentary. We’re hoping for a great hour of television!



Dreaming Robots on the CSN Blog

Busy times here at Dreaming Robots, what with so many movies featuring our mechanical friends having been released this year. We’re trying to keep up, making sense of it all as we go – hopefully soon you’ll able to see in this space the delightful results of all of our hard work.

In the meantime, Michael has been kept busy writing over at the Convergent Science Network Blog, the latest edition being a short piece looking at how our conceptions of robots are being transformed from villain to hero (but why this might not be all good news).

This is particularly topical at the moment with the recent release of Avengers: Age of Ultron – watch this space for a summary of that film.


Oh you two…