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Scientific Colonization of Images of Social Robots in Taiwan

Thu, August 30, 11:00am to 12:30pm, ICC, E5.10


This paper explores how the concept of "scientific colonization" affects the place of social robots Taiwanese people believe. By taking archival analysis to track news media in the United States, Japan, and Taiwan from Factiva, Access World News, and United Daily News databases, I demonstrate that the images of social robots in the United States and Japan directly influence the images of social robots in Taiwan. This process not only involves borrowing understandings and knowledge of social robots from developed countries to shape Taiwanese people’s perceptions about social robots, but also represents a form of scientific colonization.

Historically, Taiwan has maintained close political, cultural, and economic ties with Japan and the United States. These legacies have meant that Taiwanese media are more willing to uncritically adopt knowledge and images of social robots produced by Japan and the U.S. In doing so, the Taiwanese media perpetuates hierarchical images of social robots for their audience. This process involves disseminating westernized and scientific knowledge of social robots to Taiwan, what I refer to as scientific colonization. This process includes whether to think of social robots alternatively as hopes, threats, friends, and enemies. 

This work-in-progress paper is my first step to understand how scientific colonization affects the images of social robots in Taiwan, a burgeoning market for them. The possible outcome is to better understand how the meaning of emerging robot technologies in non-Western societies is constructed.