Embodied Robotics and the Future of Humanity with Lora Koycheva


When we think of robots, we tend to think of things like R2-D2, the Terminator skeleton, or a piece of machinery that automates the construction of goods in an assembly line. But that’s not all there is to robots — something anthropologist and roboticist entrepreneur Lora Koycheva understands perfectly well. In this episode, Lora shares her unique perspective on the intersection of anthropology and cyber-physical systems with host Adam Gamwell. She also discusses how anthropology can shed light on what robots afford human bodies, why the physical side of robots is just as important as their operating systems, and how robots can potentially reshape the human condition.

Episode Highlights:

- [03:03] How Lora brought together entrepreneurship, innovation, anthropology, and robotics
- [08:24] On-demand infrastructure and how it empowers robotics in the urban realm
- [11:59] How we can get comfortable with the physical side of robotics
- [18:28] How Lora came up with the idea of rebuilding the human condition in a world of robots
- [22:52] How and why Lora set up the Green Like a Robot project and why it matters for scholarship and society
- [27:04] Questions worth tackling when working with robots
- [35:51] Lora’s experience working with engineers
- [40:10] Commonalities between anthropology and engineering worth cultivating
- [45:06] Why embodiment is difficult to innovate through digital means
Links and Resources:

- https://www.lmu.de/en/newsroom/calendar-of-events/event/lora-koycheva-green-like-a-robot.html
- Connect with Lora Koycheva via https://de.linkedin.com/in/lora-koycheva
- Connect with Adam Gamwell via https://gmail.com/, https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamgamwell, or https://twitter.com/gamwell
- https://thisanthrolife.substack.com/ to the This Anthro Life newsletter