Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) STP Visits KULT NTNU, Trondheim

In September, we welcomed four visiting scholars from Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, who stayed with the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, NTNU, for one month. Three of them were participants of LIFEBOTS Exchange, a Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) program coordinated by NTNU. The team leader Dr. Chihyung Jeon is also on the advisory board for our AUTOWORK project. 

As science, technology, and policy researchers, they are interested in how social contexts shape the material design and cultural meanings of social and healthcare robots. They are particularly interested in how the social acceptance of robotic systems is conditioned by the shared cultural values of a society. During the visit, both sides broadened our understanding of the situatedness of social robots through in-depth discussions with each other and other NTNU collaborators in the LIFEBOTS exchange program. 

They have also visited various robot-related research facilities at Trondheim, such as SINTEF, and explored the possibility of a cross-cultural analysis of the social acceptance of robots. 

They shared their work with KULT researchers by participating in a DigiKULT seminar on the 12. Sept. 2022. 

Heesun Shin, “Robots for the Elderly Living Alone and Reconfiguration of Care in South Korea”

Miryang Kang, “Becoming One with the Robot”: Paraplegics, Robots, and a New Way of Walking in the Cybathlon”

Sungeun Kim, “Particulate Matter Pollution and Science-Policy Interface in South Korea”

Chihyung Jeon, “STS and Disaster Investigation Reports in South Korea”

At the end of the visit, the KULT team also brought our KAIST guests the most exotic Norwegian experience: a musk-ox safari, a 6-hour hike through the mountains, and sharing good memories and discussions with our team. 

Chihyung Jeon is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, KAIST. He received his Ph.D. in STS (Science, Technology, and Society) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010. Before joining KAIST STP in 2011, he spent a year at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. In 2016-17, he was a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. In January 2018, he was a visiting professor at the University of Vienna, teaching a graduate course on robotics and society.

Jeon conducts research on the relationship between humans and technologies within social and cultural contexts, examining various policy issues arising from specific human-technology-society configurations. He is interested in the feelings of control, empowerment, intimacy, anxiety, and loneliness that humans have in front of machines. He is the founder of “a.human,” a research network of scholars interested in atypical forms of humans—artificial, augmented, almost, or alternative.

Jeon’s affiliation with academic societies includes the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S, an elected Council member since 2020), Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Korean Association of Science and Technology Studies (KASTS), and Korea History of Science Society (KHSS). As of 2021, he is an associate editor for East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal and a contributing editor for Technology and Culture, the official journal of SHOT. In 2019 and 2020, he served as the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Science and Technology Studies published by KASTS.

Heesun Shin is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, KAIST. She received B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (KAIST, 2014) and M.S. in Science and Technology Policy (KAIST, 2016). Her research interests include cultures and politics of robotics and the human-robot relationship in the making from an STS perspective. As a thesis project, she is working on the ways in which robots are designed, developed, and used for elderly care in the South Korean public healthcare system. With Chihyung Jeon, she is producing a documentary film The Old Man and the Robot (working title), which follows the journey of Hyodol, an elderly care robot manufactured by a South Korean company, as the robot is designed, developed, distributed, and finally placed at the older adults’ home to take care of the elderly living alone.

Sungeun Kim is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, KAIST. He holds B.S. in Chemistry (KAIST, 2014) and M.S. in Science and Technology Policy (KAIST, 2017). He is interested in the sociotechnical coordination of remotely operated systems. In particular, his research project looks at how healthcare technologies such as telemedicine and teleoperated robots require the coordination of multiple actors (patients, nurses, doctors, roboticists, etc.) in diverse cultural settings. By doing so, he aims to examine factors that facilitate or hamper successful robotic healthcare.

Miryang Kang is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, KAIST. She is interested in disability STS, human-robot relationships, crip technoscience, and user innovation. Her master’s thesis “Neither Human nor Robotic: Paraplegics, Exoskeleton Robots, and a New Way of Walking” (2020) looks at how disabled people and non-disabled roboticists and medical staff cooperated to engineer walking in preparation for the Powered Exoskeleton Race of Cybathlon. For her thesis, she is now expanding her research sites into rehabilitation hospitals, welfare centers, and disability rights activism to document disabled people as experts, designers, and users of the accessible world.

Selected Publication

– Miryang Kang, Heesun Shin, and Chihyung Jeon. “The Autonomous Walker: How Humans and Robots Generate and Distribute Autonomy.” Korean Journal of Science and Technology Studies 21, no. 3 (2021): 98-138. [in Korean]

– Chihyung Jeon, Heesun Shin, Sungeun Kim, and Hanbyul Jeong. “Talking Over the Robot: A Field Study of Strained Collaboration in a Dementia-Prevention Robot Class.” Interaction Studies 21, no. 1 (2020): 85-110.

– Sungeun Kim, Heesun Shin, Chihyung Jeon. “PyeongChang Olympics and the Crisis of Movement.” Philosophy of Movement: Journal of Korean Society for Philosophy of Sports, Dance & Martial Arts 26, no. 4 (2018): 67-85. [in Korean]

– Heesun Shin and Chihyung Jeon. “When Robots Meet the Elderly: The Contexts of Interaction and the Role of Mediators.” Korean Journal of Science and Technology Studies 18, no. 2 (2018): 135-179. [in Korean]

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