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I got interviewed by a robot!: John Santigie Conteh

Career dreams, goals and achievements from the eyes of a robot

In this part of the column we will present some questions asked to the interviewees to understand how they felt during the experiment, in what relationship they were with the robot before the experiment and how they see robotics and Artificial Intelligence in the future. During the interview, iCub asked the interviewees a set of questions and performed a set of actions meant to evoke different Comfortability levels (i.e, complementing, interrupting, ignoring and/or misunderstanding them).

John Santigie Conteh is a PhD Student Fellow of the IIT Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications Research line.
Ciao John, could you please describe me your PhD project?My project is based on the development of nanomaterials for biomedical applications. To be specific, the project aims to produce polymeric-inorganic nanoparticle platforms that can load and release anti-cancer drugs into the tumor, when externally triggered. The PI involved is Dr. Teresa Pellegrino.How can you relate robotics or AI within your research?The field is based on synthesis, so AI and robotics can play an important role in fast tracking production of the nanoparticles. In my lab, we currently make use of a form of robotic device “Nimbus” to accelerate the synthesis of a class of polymeric nanomaterial.Did you know iCub before you got involved into this experiment?Yes, I knew that there is a robot called iCub in IIT but I’ve never seen it seen until the day of the experiment. What did you expect about the interaction with the robot before finding yourself in front of it and how was it once the interview ended?I was expecting a boring conversation but it turns out to be quite advance discussion.Were you comfortable or uncomfortable? Why?I was comfortable until iCub started making so unusual sounds which get me scared.Do you think it was funny?I think the robot interview was more fascinating than being funny to me.How can you imagine in the future a humanoid robot in your daily life at work or at home?If adequately programed, I think humanoid robots can be just like normal advance instrument in the lab taking care of some repetitive tasks.

This new column of the online magazine IIT OpenTalk will try to show some aspects of how important and hard is to build robots capable of interacting with humans in a daily basis.


  1. M.E.L. Redondo, R.Niewiadomski, F.Rea, S.Incao, A.Sciutti, Can Robots Impact Human Comfortability During a Live Interview?In Companion of the 2021 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI ’21 Companion), March 8–11, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1145/3434074.3447156
  2. M.E.L. Redondo, A. Vignolo, R. Niewiadomski, F. Rea, and A. Sciutti. 2020. Can Robots Elicit Different Comfortability Levels?. In Wagner A.R. et al. (eds) Social Robotics. ICSR 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 12483. Springer, 664–675. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-62056-1_55


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