Nikolas Vitsakis (2021 cohort rep)

Research project title: 
A Robot with Personality: How to (responsibly) design a digital persona?
Research project: 

The proposed research aims to developt a conversational agent which addresses ethical issues that are currently widespread. Namely that most conversational agents are designed in a way that perpetuates societal stereotypes (e.g. female, passive and compliant). Furthermore they are also paired with abuse mitigation strategies that do not aim to challenge and educate, which further impacts and reinforces erroneous societal biases. Therefore, this research's goal is two-fold, namely:

1)The first aim of this research is to develop conversational agents with personas with multimodal and dynamic aspects of personality (gender, voice pitch, conversational styles etc.). This will be done in order to explore how different aspects of a gendered digital persona impact conversational interactions (e.g. perceived trustworthiness) between humans and both embodied and non-embodied agents.

2) To link these findings with an abuse detection and mitigation tool. This will equip the conversational agent with appropriate abusive response strategies in order to resist and reduce abuse without reinforcing harmful gendered stereotypes.

About me: 

I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Glasgow in 2021. I have worked in multiple internships within the field of Human-Robot interactions from both a neuroscience as well as computer science standpoints. Having worked as a part of a multidisciplinary team within the field of social robotics has gaven me a holistic overview of the field, it also made me acutely aware of current issues, which I believe can only be solved through collaboration between different fields.

Outside of academia, I enjoy cooking, mountain biking, reading a good book and the occasional cheeky pint over good conversaiton with friends and peers.

Student type: 
Current student