Mark Neerincx delivers keynote address at ICSR conference
Social robots that stimulate and harmonize people with dementia’s engagement into daily activities
Due to the loss of cognitive and behavioral abilities, people with dementia (PwD) become more dependent on their (in)formal carers and may stop engaging in meaningful activities. Carers often feel burdened when they cannot provide enduring support to engage the PwD in such activities. An adjustable combination of Social AI (SAI) technology could help to initiate, coordinate, guide, stimulate and personalize the activities of PwD. Key component is a virtual and/or physical conversational agent that guides individual and group activities, asks questions, tells stories with multi-media illustrations, informs the PwD about (coming) appointments, and notifies the carer about an emerging support need. As music has a high potential to stimulate beneficial social, cognitive and affective processes, a personalized and contextualized music service is being integrated into the SAI system. In this presentation, I will present the socio-cognitive engineering method that is used to research and develop (R&D) this system in an iterative, incremental and participatory way. Examples of music-enriched activity support will be provided and, briefly, the R&D challenges that will be taken in the near future.