Homophily, the tendency for humans to be attracted to and prefer to interact with similar others, can be both problematic and promising. On one hand, a lack of it can hinder human collaboration by making it difficult for diverse collaborators to cohesively bond which is needed to help them leverage their diversity. On the other hand, homophily can promote collaboration by acting as a cohesive glue that quickly bonds strangers together who simply believe they are alike in a meaningful way. Earlier in my career, I sought to mitigate the problems of homophily within human collaborations to help them leverage their differences. Ironically, I now find myself actively exploiting homophily to promote human and robot collaboration. In this talk, I will briefly discuss the findings from my prior research on human collaborations and in greater depth my recent research on human and robot collaboration, its assumptions, and possible implications for society going forward.
Lionel Robert is a Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan and an AIS Distinguished Member Cum Laude and an IEEE Senior Member. His research focuses on collaboration through and with technology. He currently serves as director of the Michigan Autonomous Vehicle Research Intergroup Collaboration (MAVRIC). He is an affiliate of the University of Michigan Robotics Institute, the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, and the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication at Indiana University and a member of the AAAS Community Advisory Board. Dr. Robert’s research has been published in leading information systems and information science journals as well as premier computer and robotics conferences. He has also served on various program committees, including the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human–Robot Interaction, and the ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work, and as track co-chair and papers track co-chair for the International Conference on Information Systems and the ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work, as well as general co-chair for the conference. He has also served or currently serves on the editorial boards of the MIS Quarterly, the Journal of the Association for Information Systems, ACM Transactions on Social Computing, AIS Transactions on Human–Computer Interaction, and Collective Intelligence. His research has been sponsored by the AAA Foundation, Automotive Research Center/U.S. Army, Army Research Laboratory, Toyota Research Institute, MCity, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Robert has appeared in print, radio, and/or television for ABC, CNN, CNBC, Michigan Radio, Inc., New York Times, and the Associated Press.