PSR The emotional Turing test

PSR The emotional Turing test

Choreographer Robin Jonsson has been working with and researching human relations to robots for several years. MDT co-produced and presented “The Most Human” in 2018 – a piece that was also co-produced by Life Long Burning via the earlier Swedish partner Cullberg. Robin have continued the research in his latest piece “Other Than Human”, premiering at Dansens Hus in Stockholm in September 2020. Alongside the work with “Other Than Human”, using the same NAO robot as in the productions, he is developing the research/performance format “The emotional Turing test”. The work is supposed to lead to a performance premiering at Norrlandsoperan in Umeå, Sweden, in autumn 2021. The research is about how and when we see humanity in robots, and in this specific case, if and when we can and will hurt a robot.

This Performance Situation Room was an early try out for the project as a whole – a way to test thoughts and ideas, to deepen the conversation around the themes. The PSR consisted of Robin introducing the work and research, followed by at filmed conversation between Robin and Research Specialist at the MIT Media Lab Kate Darling. After the conversation, Robin led an interactive part where the audience could talk to the robot Alex, and those who wanted to could try to hurt him.


Test showing on 26 September 2020 of “The emotional Turing test”* by Robin Jonsson
Test 1: Pain

”the more we regard a robot as a social presence, the more we seem to extend our concepts
of right and wrong to our [behavior] toward them”
– Heather Knight, roboticist

I am testing the first part of the project ”The emotional Turing test” for an audience. In the project, I focus on if, how, and why humans think that a robot feels feelings. In this first part, robots are to appear as if they are feeling pain and other similar feelings. The ethical aspects of causing robots pain are complicated and not well understood. This will be included in the presentation.
The viewing is a test where I need an external audience that can experience different scenes and then share their experiences and thoughts with me. Please book ahead since the number of seats is limited.
Warning: If you don’t want to see a robot being tortured then you should not attend this presentation.

About The emotional Turing test: The project will premiere in its entirety in the fall of 2021 at the festival “Rum för performance” at Norrlandsoperan in Umeå.

View the experience report and the evening sheet in the upper right column.

26.09.20 - 26.09.20

MDT Stockholm

supported/organized by MDT