Published 11 August 2021

Summer School Spotlight: Nikhita Jandu

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I recently finished studying my undergraduate degree in Philosophy at University of York.

I’m from London but I decided to study at York when I saw the campus and the city. I thought it would be a relaxing and different experience.

Away from studying, I enjoy travelling and cooking.

Why did you apply to join the YorRobots summer school?

I applied to join the summer school as I wanted to explore a different research project compared to my undergraduate dissertation. The project I'm working on focuses on the field of AI and ethics.

I hope to gain valuable transferable skills that can be applied to any future research projects I decide to pursue.

Additionally, I hope to use this invaluable experience as a stepping stone to open up job opportunities in the field of ethics of AI.

Tell us a little about the project you’re working on

The project I am currently working on explores ethical issues surrounding the potential initial deployment of Social Assistive Robotics (SARs). Particularly, the use of SARs to aid patients suffering from early dementia and mild cognitive impairments.

One of the issues relates to empathy and human-robot interaction, i.e. how much should a SAR relate to a patient in terms of simulating human emotion? Another issue relates to trust and whether a patient can trust a SAR to adequately take care of them. My two supervisors are Annette Zimmermann and Radu Calinescu.

Annette is from the Philosophy Department and Radu is part of the Computer Science Department. Both of my supervisors have vast experience within their fields and I hope to use their knowledge from differing areas to contribute towards the ongoing research and debate of the use of social assistive robotics.

What would you like to achieve this summer?

By the end of this internship, I hope to have gained knowledge in a different field within the realm of ethics of AI and contribute significantly to the current debate from an interdisciplinary perspective.

And what are your first impressions of the YorRobots summer school?

I have been made to feel welcome and have received lots of help from the YorRobots team.

I have managed to talk to one other summer school student who also studied philosophy as her undergraduate degree, it has been really nice to share this experience with someone from a similar background to me.