Are humanoids the ultimate quest of human augmentation?

Professor Abderrahmane Kheddar


First, some historical facts and key milestones of the robotic technology is traced back underlining parallelisms and similarities with respect to that of the computers. I will show and explain the reasons how and why robotic systems requirements have centered progressively toward human when robotics left progressively the automation field to invade services in various domains. This spreading of the robotic technology gave rise to novel challenging approaches in robotics design and usage that will have a huge impact on various future societal and economical aspects. On the more philosophical view, human-centered robotics concerns the underlying question of “human augmentation”. The latter can be thought as related to a new robotic taxonomy that I define through a human-robot “distance” metric. Some conventional wisdom concerning why exoskeletons are the more or less best bad-idea robotics came with; the robotic embodiment challenge, are humanoids bodies without brains, and the limitation of mind-controlled robotic systems will be thoroughly discussed.


Professor Abderrahmane Kheddar received the BS in Computer Science degree from the Institut National d’Informatique (ESI), Algiers, the MSc and Ph.D. degree in robotics, both from the University of Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. He is presently Directeur de Recherche at CNRS and the Codirector of the CNRS-AIST Joint Robotic Laboratory (JRL), UMI3218/RL, Tsukuba, Japan. He is also leading the Interactive Digital Humans (IDH) team at CNRS-University of Montpellier LIRMM, France. His research interests include haptics, humanoids and recently thought-based control using brain machine interfaces. He is a founding member of the IEEE/RAS chapter on haptics, the co-chair and founding member of the IEEE/RAS Technical committee on model-based optimization, he is a member of the steering committee of the IEEE Brain Initiative, Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and within the editorial board of some other robotics journals; he is a founding member of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics and served in its editorial board during three years (2007-2010). He is an IEEE senior member and titular full member of the National Academy of Technology of France and recently knight of the national order of merits of France.